This just in: adulting is hard. The infamous Friends theme song summed up the harrowing truth for millennials perfectly: “Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s DOA.”It truly can get daunting, dwelling on the insecurities and doubt surrounding your life, and yet you can’t stop doing it. Who doesn’t love an existential examination of their own uncertain future? I ask you. Know, however, that you’re not alone: LinkedIn published research indicating that approximately 75% of 25-33 year olds have experienced a quarter life crisis. It’s clear that what you’re experiencing isn’t a solitary incident, so why does it feel so isolating when you’re experiencing a quarter life crisis? We know exactly how it feels, so we’ve come up with 5 ways to help you ride out the wave.
Know You’re Not Alone
As proved by the LinkedIn statistic, it’s clear that what you’re going through isn’t unique to you. The vast majority of people your age are having similar feelings of insecurity and fear. Should you ever find yourself in a particularly nasty spell of self-doubt, turn to your friends and ask for support. It’s almost guaranteed that they’ll be able to offer advice and insight, as they’ve experienced a similar mindset. A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say, and there’s nothing more reassuring than the realisation that you’re not alone.
Stop Using the Word ‘Should’
“I’m 28, I should be getting married.” “I left uni a year ago, I should have found a full time job by now!” Be wary of falling into the pitfall of the word ‘should’. There is no right or wrong time to do anything, and the word sets you up to a potentially unrealistic expectation of what you want your life to look like. Expectations are important, as they can help visualise what you want in the future, but be wary when expectations become ‘should’s. They can make you feel as if you’re behind an imagined curve.
Reconsider Your Definition of ‘Success’
We’re all under crushing pressure to ‘succeed’. It’s something that has been pedalled out to us since we started high school: you pick a career path, work hard, and achieve. While it is important to thrive in a field you’re passionate about, reconsider what your image of true ‘success’ looks like to you. There are many definitions of the word, and no two people will have the same one. In truth, there will always be someone who appears to be better off than you, when you’re measuring success in a way that doesn’t align with your own personal goals. Using the same blanket view of success as your peers and colleagues is almost a sure-fire way to feel inadequate. Reflect, and define what exactly is important to you, specifically.
Don’t Compare Yourself
While every generation previous has dealt with comparisons to their peers, it has never been made easier with social media. Social media is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, you have the ability to keep up to date with friends from yesteryear: on the other, you’re privy to every promotion, engagement and pregnancy. The inherent envy inbuilt into social media can sometimes be debilitating. Should you ever find yourself held in a toxic mindset when scrolling through your feeds, be mindful of your relationship with it. Of course, everyone is just presenting the ‘highlight reel’ of their days, and it is easy to be misled by the apparent ‘perfect’ lives that everyone but you seems to be having. If you need it, take a few days off social media, and focus on what you are doing. Your own strengths, plans and accomplishments need to be cultivated, far from comparisons.
Set Long-Term Goals
It is true that your current situation may not be your ideal one, but try and not get overwhelmed by it. It is easy to get swept up into a frenzy of doubt of the minutiae of your life: the grittiest details of what is isn’t going right. Take a step back, and look at the big picture. There will be always be elements of your life that can be improved on, but it is important to not let what you have going for you get overshadowed by the flaws. Set long term goals to work toward, and take everything a day at a time.