Am I in a quarter life crisis?
I always used to make fun of my parents, when they were lying down, tired, on the couch after a long day of work, and then I would ask them in a funny way: ‘Is the midlife crisis setting in?’.
Now I’m getting older (28, yes) and still can’t accept that I really ám getting older, I frequently ask myself: ‘Is this all there is to life?’. Following-up with: Is this the job I want? Is starting an own company something for me or does it sound more attractive than it really is? When is the perfect time to start a serious relationship and to settle down? And what do I want out of a relationship? When is the perfect time for me to have children?
Probably, these are questions a lot of people my age are struggling with. And even before I knew this ‘thing’ had a name, the internet confronted me with, as called, the ‘quarter life crisis’. Is this a usual phase in our lives and am I really in a quarter life crisis?!
The start of the adult life
I graduated in the summer of 2014, already had a paying job so I had reached the goals which I had at that time. I did like my job, but I also really had to get used to the requirements of the 36 hours a week of being present and waking up early every day. And, for myself, it was out of the question to be ‘absent’ now and then, when I didn’t feel like going. During my college time I just used to skip the first subject when I had a bad hair day or when it was raining like crazy. No problem, most of the time.. College time was just rad.
Next to my fulltime job I still did fun activities with friends, but my life in general was day in day out work, work, work! And to be honest: 36 hours a week is actually not even that much, right?!
After a while I asked myself: So, next phase in life is settling down? Children? And despite the fact that I had already settled down before, back then I still felt like a child myself. And maybe starting my own company would be way more practical before having kids!
Then what is the next step? And what is it what I want to do the rest of my life? Hundreds of questions in my head made me run around like a chicken with his head cut off.
Choices vs. expectations
So I’m in a quarter life crisis, right? Is it something someone once made up and will you be stigmatized in the same category if you have these symptoms? What does this ‘thing’ really mean?
According to Elliot Jaques, the man who introduced the term -already- in 1965, mentions that people between the age of 22 and 35 are looking for their real identity and what they really want in life. The quarter life crisis-patients suffer from disappointment, insecurity, loneliness and choice stress. Our generation is probably the most stressful generation ever and life nowadays offers so many choices, it can drive us crazy!
Well, my friend, does it sounds familiar? That sounds like you’re ready for the insane asylum. 🙂
And to what extent is a quarter life crisis being caused by comparing ourselves to others and feeling their pressure? The pressure to satisfy the expectations of our surrounding; media, society and even friends and family.
It’s normal to feel restless now and then to compare ourselves, we are herd animals. But don’t stay there and try to stay close to yourself so you’ll follow your own path. Because comparing robs us from our happiness.
Take a break from life to (re)consider your needs
Despite that I was giving the best of me at my job and wanted to become better at it, my two week trip to Jakarta, Bali and Lombok in December 2014 became an eye-opener to me. Spontaneously and not planned at all! Booked a ticket for 10 days or so, but extended my trip with four days. I remember I had to pay a lot to change my ticket –how much it was I perhaps supplanted-, but what the hell! I had a great time and even if I knew, I discovered, truly experienced and felt that life is not only about work and making money! Gaining memorable experiences and truly enjoying life is essential! Not only to get the nice feeling of the sun, but also to organize a break in your life to (re)consider what is really important to you.
Ask yourself over and over again
In life we get the choice whether to stay in our comfort zone and choose for the easy- and safe way to live our lives or dare to step out of it. Stepping out to find out what we really want in life and what really fits to our personality. Because if a dream doesn’t really scares you, then it’s not really a dream. To me, a holiday, a trip or, so I call, a break of life is essential to grow as a person.
Take the time to think about the things you do now and if they still make you happy? What would I love to do or reach in the near future? Sometimes you need to take distance to reactivate your creativity to discover these important aspects of your life. Because our creativity is what makes us unique in this world. And I believe that we can find what our creativity includes by following our feelings and to do what we love. But how do we follow our feelings? In this crowded world it’s not always that easy.
Discover your identity by reflecting on everything you are doing. Does this feels good to me, am I really enjoying this? And why am I enjoying this?
And if it doensn’t really feel comfortable, ask yourself the same question. What is it what doesn’t feel so good? Making a connection with your feelings is making a connection with your heart, your gut. And your gut always tells you what you really feel and somehow your gut tells you what’s really good for you. Learn to listen more often to it. It takes practice.
”when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”.
A part of life
Despite that I easily try to say how to ‘solve’ the quarterlife crisis, it isn’t that easy for me either. Stressfull period of times make it harder to connect to my feelings. I really had to learn to listen to my body, mind and soul, because I was always used to keep going. Ignoring my feelings to work to the results I had in mind. But eventually your body will always call you back. Sooner or later.
Is a quarterlife crisis something we need to stop complaining about and just be grateful with what we have at the moment? And making the right decisions are being made by our heart automatically, as long as we listen to our true feelings? Or maybe we should be grateful to be in a quarterlife crisis. Because if we never experience one, we’ll never put effort in getting to know our beautiful selves.
Step out of our comfort zone, try something that is scary and do something what you’ve been dreaming about for a long time. Because that’s where you’ll find the best version of yourself <3. And don’t listen to others, especially not the ‘nay-sayers’.
As Paulo Coelho says: ‘And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.’
What are your thoughts and ideas about how to get through the quarter life crisis?