“The ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ is Real”
I remember when I was a teen I would cast a thought into the future and conjure up a vision of what my life would look like by the time I hit my mid-20’s. I envisioned that I would be already deeply entrenched in my chosen career path, put down a mortgage on the house of my dreams with my partner, own a flashy car maybe, and probably be married and ready to have kids by the time I was 27. For the longest period of my life, I was seriously under the impression that people in their mid-20’s, and those approaching their 30’s, already had life figured out and were well on their way to living their lives happily ever after. Returning to present day, I am sure that my peers and I can agree that life is anything but this rosy image of resplendence. Having just arrived at the not-very-milestone age of 26, I thought that I would have a lot to celebrate, whether it be a career promotion or a relationship goal, but on reflection 2017 was very much a year of stagnation and I simply could not shake this feeling for the life of me.
For the greater part of last year I was inclined to believe that this was a very personal feeling and that only I was going through this, however, it was not until I spoke with more of my peers on a deeper level that I discovered that I am simply one of many in my generation experiencing the woes of 2017. It was this type of discourse and the recurring topics of ‘career dissatisfaction’ and ‘frustration at lack of progress towards life goals’ that ultimately led me to the abrupt conclusion…We are going through a “quarter-life crisis”!
For a millennial, who is quite highly educated and has a set of goals to accomplish by their mid-late 20’s, and has been on a steady trajectory upwards until this year, it is unsurprising that I have felt disappointed and a lack of fulfilment with where my life currently stands. But I’m not the only one! I genuinely struggled to find the words to really describe my relief, yet encouragement, when I found out that the majority of my age mates were going through exactly the same thing as me. We have set ourselves very similar life goals i.e. career, house, family etc. and now find that in reality we are not as close to attaining all of these things as we would like.
Now that we have an understanding, what can be done to try and combat this “mid-20’s life crisis”? What helped me out from feeling like I was stuck in a bit of rut was the realisation that in the very grand scheme of things, life is not all that bad. I would guess that many millennials, like myself, have been led to believe that this prolonged period of stagnation equates to them being a complete failure in life. Well, you’re wrong! I have been alive for 26 years and have worked incredibly hard to get to where I am right now, and although last year didn’t exactly follow the trend of progression I have become accustomed to in previous years, what’s one “bad” year out of 26 years of life?! OK, so I may not be as close as I thought I might be to that all elusive house or in a position to start a family, but I have so many things to be thankful for. I still have a job, I have money coming in, I have a roof over my head, and thankfully family and friends to support me every step of the way.
Probably the most paramount point to take from this is that life is a journey and we’ve only just begun to embark on the most interesting chapter. We are just transitioning into the “beginning of the rest our lives”. That could mean that your life-time of education is about to pay dividends in your chosen career path, creating something positive out of your current situation! My hope is that all of us twentysomethings will look back on this year being thankful for the lessons learnt through enduring the struggle, despite it being one of the most difficult and trying years of our lives. This low feeling is temporary and will not last forever, so use these moments to plot your next move to ensure improvement in your future.
Through conversations with some of my closest friends, I have seen what effects this feeling of disillusionment can do. I have witnessed the happiest and most jovial of spirits be reduced to a shell of themselves as they cope with a lack of fulfilment and disconcertment regarding their current position in life, myself included. Through these same conversations, however, I too learned that I am not alone and that the majority of us are experiencing this together. Do not suffer in silence, be honest, talk with your friends and families and do not be shy to open up about these perfectly natural feelings. You will soon discover that many more of your age mates feel as you do and would also like to address this with you.
The “mid-20’s life crisis” is here and is very real! I would urge you twentysomethings out there to not ignore these feelings or internalise them, as this is potentially dangerous and very often counter-productive. If anything, this epidemic should be treated just like any other mental health issue like ‘stress’ and be laid out for discussion, especially as it can lead to depression. But most of all, BE PATIENT!! This is a transitionary phase and will likely represent 1 year of your life span – you have the rest of your life ahead of you and you’ve only just started living! Don’t dwell on your current condition, get up and do something about it to ensure that this phase of your life is as short-lived as possible, and that the next year is a more prosperous and successful one. So, if this post even so much as makes someone feel a bit happier about their current situation, or makes them feel like they are not alone, then my mission is accomplished.