What does a quarter life crisis look like? Deciding hours of online shopping is the only cure for your rapidly decaying future? Mixing frosted flakes into popcorn and feasting until your bed is a grave of kernels that missed their target? Declaring war on tertiary institutions and their inability to render you fit for financially secure employment?
Whatever your poison, a quarter life crisis may as well be considered a rite of passage; a valid fear that a prosperous future for us millennials is becoming increasingly out of reach. But when this fear takes hold, here are things to keep in mind.
There Is No Right Way
Living in this social media dominated age, comparisons are not only easy to make, but almost mandatory. Of course, all the fitspo Insta accounts can leave you feeling a little on the pudgy side. However, often it’s conversations with close friends that can really dredge up those feelings of inadequacy. In particular, it’s super likely to leave you with the anxiety-producing question, “what am I doing with my life?”
In these moments, remember that there is no ‘right’ path. We’ve all got different goals. Other than happiness, the only true measure of our ‘success’ is whether we’re taking action that’s conducive to reaching our ideal destination. So don’t be swayed by all the internships and job opportunities of others. Provided you know you want, and you’ve outlined (and are attempting to follow) some sort of process to get there, you’re on your right track.
(And… in the event that you don’t know what you want, or have changed your mind about your goals, pay attention to tip #2.)
You’re Not Locked In
Due to the enabling influence of technology, we’re seeing a huge influx of celebs achieve their fame at a younger age than ever before. Take Australian producer RUEL for instance. Discovered at age 12 by M-Phazes, he’s already completed a tour with Angus and Julia Stone and Khalid. Not to mention, his deal with RCA Records International. Bombarded by this level of achievement, it’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re on a strict timeline is about to expire. Such thinking can also lead to the logic that it’s ‘too late’ to change our minds about our career path.
Remind yourself that success is not measured in the speed with which you achieve your goals. You may feel dissatisfied or unenthused with the direction your life is heading in. But continuing along this doomed path is only going to lead to an overwhelming sense later in life that you’ve sub-optimised. Indeed, the prospect of a study/career change is daunting; it’s a huge time and work commitment, and the learning curve will be steep. But remember, time is only as precious as we make it. We can stress and fret about losing a couple of years getting re-qualified. Or preparing ourselves for a lifestyle change. But if the quality of those years and those still to come will be significantly improved, surely this is a gain in the long term.
Also remember, having millions of Insta followers at age 12 is not the norm.
Everyone Is Losing The Plot + You’re Doing A Great Job In A Tough World
The last thing to keep in mind is that despite the myth propagated by social media, everyone suffers from these life crises (be they quarter, mid, three quarter etc.) Don’t subscribe to the insidious media hype that presents 95% of our population as ‘loving life’. The ups and downs of our existence have been around since our Neanderthal ancestors stressed out about a lack red meat in their diet. These ups and downs will still be around in our potentially dystopian future. It doesn’t matter how hard human kind works to disguise them. And it’s worth checking in with your mates regularly, no matter how ‘fine’ and ‘together’ they may seem.
It seems tougher than ever to be a young person in this world; mental health issues being higher than ever, and financial stresses more salient. Give yourself a break. Life is hard and demoralising and confusing at times. So if you feel like a Netflix binge feat. popcorn, frosted flakes and online shopping to combat the woes of our millennial generation, go right ahead. Everyone else is too.