Are you in your mid-20s or early 30s? Do you notice that you are not exactly sure about your relationships? Perhaps, you have been on and off relationships for reasons you can’t tell. Maybe, it’s even beginning to get so bad that you are starting to think relationships aren’t made for you. Are you struggling with your finance even when you work a job that is well paying? Have you begun to wear big brands just to make it seem that you are not in a bad place financially? What about your dream job? You got the job you have always wanted, but you are suddenly unsure about wanting it. “Is this it?” you have asked way too many times. You seriously wonder what the purpose of life is. You are beginning to wonder “what’s next”. You find yourself totally appalled with the adult life. You tell anyone who cares to listen that adulthood is a scam, and you truly believe it. The truth is; you may be going through a crisis – quarter-life crisis.
In 2017, LinkedIn published a research that indicates that 75 per cent of 25 to 33-year-olds have experienced a quarter-life crisis. The survey conducted by Censuswide on behalf of LinkedIn among over 6,000 participants drawn from the United States, United Kingdom, India and Australia revealed that:
- Almost 80 per cent of those aged 25 to 33 have felt the pressure to succeed in their relationships, career or finance before age 30.
- A greater number of the participants at 61 per cent feel anxious about finding a job they’re passionate about, while 47 per cent are bothered about their relationships.
- 48 per cent say comparing themselves to their more successful friends has caused them anxiety.
Quarter-life crisis is a period of insecurity, doubt and disappointment that many people in their mid-20s to early 30s go through surrounding their career, relationships, and finances. An average quarter-life crisis lasts for 11 months. It is usually a period of intense and stressful soul searching. The sufferer is usually consumed by questioning the direction of their career, relationships, finance and overall life purpose. Quarter-life crisis is rooted in the realisation that you do not have dreams, or perhaps have unattainable and unrealistic dreams. It is prompted by the realisation that you are not prepared for the adult life, regardless of your Ivy League education. You begin to realise that there are no fairy tales in relationships; nothing dreamy about your dream job; that you have to get some financial education if you would make headways with your finance. This doesn’t leave a good feeling. Nathan Gehlert, Ph.D., a Washington D.C. psychologist says that a typical sufferer is, “highly driven and smart, but struggling because they feel they’re not achieving their potential or feeling they’re falling behind”.
The quarter-life crisis shouldn’t spell doom for you. It should give you hope because you are smart enough to even ponder on what direction your life is really going; who you really are and what you really want from life. Again, you are not alone – the statistics above points to that fact. And it could be managed if you would try the following:
- Stop Comparing Yourself With Others: This could never be overemphasised. Comparing yourself with others is the only thing that has been fingered as a trigger to a quarter-life crisis. Social media has made it easier for us to run off on the comparison wheel, but the truth is, most times people’s lives aren’t as beautiful as it seems on social media. I for one only post about the good things in my life on social media and so does most of my friends. Imagine what harm you would be doing yourself thinking that I have got no worries because I do not share them online.
- Define Your Success: What does success mean to you? For me, it is being able to do whatsoever I set out to do, no matter how insignificant it is to others. If you keep on seeing success from a generalistic point of view, it would take happiness away from you. It’s not in the constitution that you must “make it” at a certain age. No one says you must be married before 30. Take some chill pills, find out what success means to you, and roll with that.
- Rethink Your Idea of Career: We all are focused on climbing the career ladder. But, the metaphor ladder could cause some problems. Many people don’t want to be like their Bosses in the next couple of years and the fear of it can cause a crisis. I have once worked a job where I wanted a promotion because it meant more money and proves me as being “good”, but still didn’t want it because I don’t like the task that comes with the promotion. You must not follow a career path and you must not pursue a career in your field of study. Be open to exploring your options as much as you can. Follow your passion. Learn all that you can, try out new jobs if you must. But, there mustn’t be a ladder to climb in your career. You may prefer a lower position over a position that comes with a promotion.
- Find the Root Cause: Quarter-life crisis calls for a need for you to step back and evaluate your life. What is the cause of the situation? Is it that you can’t save? Are you suddenly seeing reasons not to go to work? Do you keep getting tired of your lovers? Whatsoever it is, this is the time to take a step back and write down the cause of your anxiety and nervousness. This would allow you to figure out the problem and subsequently be able to solve it.
- Seek Help: Talk to your friends. You’d be amazed at how many of them going through worse, which could actually be the little encouragement that you need. You and your friends can build some solidarity or form an alliance, and walk through the crisis together. You can’t always go through life alone. You can as well talk to your parents and older relatives. They most likely have been there, done that and have souvenirs to prove it. I have once spoken to a Boss about my inability to save and she was more helpful than I could have thought.
- Research: There is a need to still embark on your own personal research. You could read lots of blog posts and articles about whatsoever your situation is. You are not alone, and people who had gone through a similar situation have it documented in blogs and books that are available online.
- Be Kind To Yourself: I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you are where you ought to be. It could be a troubling time, yes – but, you have to go through this phase of your life, in order to have a better life tomorrow. You are an awesome being, don’t allow yourself feel otherwise because of a crisis. Don’t try to lift the problem of the entire universe on your shoulder (you could be young, but you ain’t Merlin). Cut yourself some slack and live. Manage your expectations of yourself and be realistic about your abilities; what you can and cannot change. Remember, you do not have anything to prove to anyone. You only live once, make the best of the rare opportunity.
Have you gone through this phase yourself? Is there a tip I missed out? Be sure to use the comment box to make those suggestions. Feel free to ask questions too, another reader may have an answer for you. Let’s power through the quarter-life crisis together. Cheers.