The term quarterlife crisis is a relatively young one, but several recent books have been written about the concept. The existence of facebook and other social networking sites allows young people in their twenties to directly compare themselves to their peers. The result is often a feeling of inadequacy in conjunction with confusion about what to do with one’s future. The quarterlife crisis can refer to uncertainty about the future faced by twentysomethings or to the sense of being “behind” one’s peers. In either case, a quarter life crisis can be difficult to deal with and can often stunt progress toward real life goals. Here is what you can do to survive it:
Be True to Yourself
It makes no sense to feel inadequate compared to someone who has a life you don’t want, but this is exactly what many people in their twenties find themselves doing in the midst of a quarterlife crisis. That friend on facebook who is married with three kids can make a person who never wants to get married or have kids feel suddenly inadequate. Remind yourself that different people make life choices, and don’t lose sight of your own choices and goals. It can be helpful to make a list of the things you hope to achieve in your life. This way, you don’t waste time being envious of people who have lives you would hate!
If you’ve had a setback in your life, have chosen a career that will require a lot of schooling to obtain, or if you’re feeling depressed, going to sources of envy and stress is a bad choice. If you know looking at people’s facebooks makes you feel inadequate, simply stay away and instead spend your time focusing on achieving your own dreams rather than envying other people’s.
Gain Some Perspective
Surviving a quarterlife crisis requires a good deal of perspective and insight. Rather than focusing on the things you don’t have or are unsure about, stop and think about what really makes you happy. Odds are good it’s friends, family, pets, and other relationships. Cultivate these and focus on how fulfilling they can be.
Get a Hobby
There’s nothing like a new hobby to help renew self esteem. Take classes on a musical instrument or in dance or something else you’ve always wanted to do. Learn how to make things. Focus on developing new skills that are fun, and not just designed to get you a job!
The quarterlife crisis is prime time to start volunteering. There’s nothing like helping other people to make you feel less sorry for yourself. But perhaps equally important, you will form new relationships, develop new skills, and potentially make job connections through volunteering.
Make a Realistic Plan
The quarterlife crisis is usually sparked by a sense that we have not met our goals in some way or do not measure up against our peers. If you’re already well on your way to being where you want to be, it’s time to give up your feelings of inadequacy because achieving important goals takes time! If you haven’t quite figured out what you want to do with your life yet, though, it’s time to make a plan. Don’t worry; you don’t need to map it all out. But start small. What would you like to accomplish this month? This year? Make a list and break the list down into workable parts.