15 Tips to Conquer the Quarter-Life Crisis!
The Quarter-Life Crisis. It hits you in your 20s or 30s like Tornado Tom, or Tammy for that matter. Suddenly your life is turned upside down. You are debilitated by questions regarding what you’re doing with your life and where you’re going. Don’t even dare mention a 5-year plan. What on earth is that? I can’t even figure out what I want to eat for lunch. Usually, your job/career is at the center of this crisis. Maybe you have a job you can’t bear to face another day. Or, perhaps, you have no job at all.
A Quarter-Life Crisis has some other key markers too. Like, you probably have a lot of debt and your financial situation mirrors that of a broke college student. Your relationship status is complicated. The parentals are your “roommates”. You’re anxious and/or depressed. You have no sense of direction or purpose. All of your Facebook friends seem to have their crap together (keyword being "seem") -- Your newsfeed mainly consists of engagement / wedding / baby pictures, statuses about a new job, promotion, or graduation, a before-and- after of someone’s new home, and, of course, the daily selfie. Life at 25, 30, or 35 is not what you had envisioned it to be.
I’m all too familiar with the Quarter-Life Crisis. In fact, I’m still riding it out (3 years and counting, baby). Here are some key points to remember and some tips on how to journey through your QLC:
1. Please know that you are not alone. Every single person struggles with something at some point in their lives. No one’s journey is smooth sailing. People could parade all they want on Facebook, but I guarantee you, their lives are far from perfect.
2. Your self-worth IS NOT tied to your job status, marital status, whether you have kids or not, the car you drive, the home you live in, any material things you own, etc. Your very existence is important. Always remember that.
3. This is just another chapter in your story, and you will turn the page when you are ready. Go at a pace you are comfortable with. Life is not a race, nor is it a competition. Don’t fall into that trap.
4. “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.”
5. Don’t settle. Imagine how different life would be if we just settled. Settled for a job, wife/husband, or home we didn’t love. We think we’re supposed to be somewhere by a certain age. Like be married, have children, own our first home, have a solid career... all in your late-20s to early-30s. Really?! Well, I think it’s time that notion of “supposed to” rests in peace. Goodbye. Sayonara. It’s been nice knowing you.
6. They say, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Wouldn’t you agree? You need to stop focusing on others' achievements, accomplishments, and milestones. Look inward vs. outward. For example, what can I do to improve my life, be a better person, be happier, etc.? P.S. If it means deactivating your Facebook account, then so be it.
7. You gain something positive from every challenging experience. Have faith; you will come out ahead.
8. Channel that energy into something you love. Do activities you’re passionate about. Join a variety of meetup groups. Write -- it’s so cathartic. My go-to is most definitely singing and/or rapping in the car. It really pumps me up. Plus, I entertain the person in the car next to me.
9. Don’t take life too seriously. Find the humor in things and your current situation. Trust me, nothing feels better than a hearty laugh.
10. I take that back. Sometimes all you need is a good cry. Just let it out.
11. Talk it out. Share your feelings with your siblings, friends, or parents. Or seek out a neutral third party and talk to a therapist or counselor. Don’t carry that burden on your own.
12. If your heart is telling you something is not right, listen to it and trust your intuition.
13. Don’t fear failure or rejection. It’s a natural part of life. Please remember this quote: “As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.”
14. Intern. Intern. Intern. I can’t say it enough. Internships are so valuable. It’s the only way to know if a certain career path is right for you or not. It’s also your foot in the door. Make the experience worth your while. Work hard. Network. Leave a lasting impression on your supervisor.
15. You can fight your Quarter-Life Crisis or just accept it for what it is. And if you go with the latter, know that it’s not a destination; it’s just a small part of your journey. Learn from it, make the most of it, and grow from this experience. Use your story to inspire people.
I will leave you with one last quote from Robert Frost: “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It Goes On.”
(Photo via Rita Korkounian)