You may have heard of the midlife crisis, usually associated with men in their forties. There is, however, a plague of our day, an enemy many millennials dread.
The quarter-life crisis is a period of uncertainty and questioning that occurs when people feel trapped, uninspired and disillusioned during their mid-20s to early 30s.
People may feel that they are stuck in a dead-end job while all of their friends advance their careers or wonder why they cannot seem to make a romantic relationship last when other members of their social group are getting married and having children.
Common stressors and issues that can lead to this kind of crisis can include:
Job searching or career planning.
Living alone for the first time.
Making long-term personal or professional decisions.
Several others seem stuck on equally sky-high questions: “Is there anything that will fulfill my life or bring passion into what I do?” “At what point do we stop chasing our dreams?”
“Do I still have time to achieve my goals? Am I even that talented or that deserving?”
There are issues with body image and self awareness – and for a time like this, the bone straight hair phenomenon has left many ladies disturbed especially as Christmas draws near.
It’s “the crisis of having to transition from a kid who is told what to do and does it and gets rewards—to an adult who has to figure out everything for themselves.
Life today is tough for young people. Social media is brilliant in lots of ways, but it’s not real life, and it can suck you into thinking that everyone else’s curated lives are perfect.
The mid-twenties to early thirties can be a time when a lot goes on – friends’ lives can often move at a different pace to your own – and that can lead to unhelpful comparisons.” ( Bradley University online)
This period can come with lots of depression, anxiety, doubting God and doubting your own potential and giftings, loneliness, the irony of rootlessness and feeling stuck at the same time, and despondency, battles of low self esteem, etc. It is estimated that about 70 to 80 percent of young graduates will have a fair share of this experience.
You may think it is another degree, a change of neighborhood, a boyfriend doting on you, a friend with a deep emotional connection, an item canceled on the bucket list, that will bring you satisfaction. It is not always so.
According to Rachel Jones, in her book, “Is this It”, “You feel a little bit lost, a little bit lonely, a little bit like you’re looking for something, but you’re not even sure what.
The Quarter-Life Crisis creeps up on birthdays and New Year’s Eves, and it rears its head any time you see on social media that someone you went to school with has had a baby, got a promotion, or simply had the audacity to look happy in a photo. It’s that desire to change something about your life, but being overwhelmed by the options.
It’s the uneasy feeling that comes when you take stock of everything around you—the people, the places and the relentless routines of work and washing up—and find yourself asking, “Is this it?
The comfort of being able to afford a life of luxury, to travel and be free, to enjoy a vacation, to do the many things instagram would have you believe are what make life worth living, coupled with financial difficulties, debt, and living within your means – this can be one hell of a life phase, I must say.
How do we go through this period of our lives?
A good exercise to help you explore your own life is to get a piece of paper and a pen and divide your life into sections – Career, Friends, Family, Partner, Fun, Health, Money, Personal Growth, Environment – you can add in any section you want or take sections out if they aren’t relevant to you.
“In each section, rate your level of satisfaction from 1-10. Don’t spend too long doing it; just write down the first number that comes into your head. This could give you a clear steer of where you need to focus your energy in order to improve things. Some personal strategy retreats for this exercise would be worth it.
Also, seek therapy.
Get a life coach.
Speak to a mentor.
Older people should also help us by providing guidance, listening to our needs, and helping us go through the period smoothly. As a person of faith, I’d emphasize that this is actually the period for building a very strong spiritual connection.
It is the period where we find ourselves, even before what we need to do. The struggles within lead us to discovering our values, and what we are made of.
We are making all the critical life choices at this stage in our lives – let us be patient with ourselves.
An Occupational Therapist, a Psychologist or Certified Counselor could be of help in this regard – helping you refocus, restrategize and regroup to carve out a much better path for life.
2021 will come with its own struggles, and just as we’ve always survived, we’ll definitely come out stronger. In these last few days of the year, invest in a personal strategy retreat.
Invest in good journals. Add belonging to a solidarity circle to your resolutions. Create a budget plan for therapy or seeing a life coach. Above all, have a relationship with your maker. He’s got the blueprint for your life.
Beyond the circles that party and play, you may need more focused groups to help you navigate this season of your life.
Identity precedes purpose. I pray strength for every twenty-something-year old. It shall be well…
The writer, Gifty Nti Konadu, is an Occupational Therapist, a Social Justice Advocate and a Human Security Enthusiast.