A quarter life crisis is not a myth. Every 20-something reaches a point in life that is the peak of the adult version of adolescence. At that point begin a series of assessments, of one’s accomplishments, relationships, and the past, present & future. More often than not, these assessments give way to disappointment, anger and confusion, or a 20-something’s version of a mid-life crisis. The severity and implications of a Quarter Life Crisis aka QLC vary with each individual.
A study solemnly reports that every 3 in 4 people aged 26 to 30 go through a Quarter Life Crisis, while the Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia have some broad opinions on what such a crisis entails. The pace at which our generation moves has redefined most demographics, and having just turned 23, I’m attempting to discuss how to cope with a QLC, and hoping I wouldn’t relapse.
1. Let go.
We carry a heavy burden from our past, of broken friendships, unfulfilled promises and seemingly wrong choices. In retrospect however, these defining moments have made us who we are today, and if we look deep down inside, we’ve turned out just fine. We’ll never know what those friendships might have brought us, or those promises. We’ll never know how a different choice might have changed our lives, for better or for worse.
What we do know is our present, and chances are, it’s not as bad as we sometimes make it look. Take what you have and move on. Empty your backpack of the burden. Let go.
2. The 80-20 rule.
In the last few months, I’ve developed great affinity with a self-derived version of the 80-20 rule : Spend 80% of your time with 20% of the people that matter most. Adulthood is marked with a steep rise in responsibilities and commitments, leaving much less time to manage relationships. Gone are the days when we could juggle a dozen people every day on different scales of friendship and trust.
Ask yourself, who are the people that laugh and cry with you, that make you happy, and you’ll know how to use the 80-20 rule.
3. Do what you love.
It’s the only way to live. We do what we have to do so we can do what we want to do. Sometimes, it takes longer to be able to do what we love, but we have to continuously work towards that light at the end of the dark tunnel we’re stuck in. As George Elliot says, it’s never too late to be what you might have been.
At a sub-conscious level, we know what we love to do. Many people put it into a box that hangs at the back of their heads, surfacing again at their mid-life crisis. Unlock that box and start adding thoughtful ingredients to it, so someday, your life will be the product of that concoction.
A friend pointed me to how-to-do-what-you-love wisdom by Paul Graham for further inspiration. Get inspired 🙂
4. Be comfortable in your own shoes
The only person you need to impress is yourself. Say that to yourself every moment of every day till you internalize it, and you’ll see a giant difference in the way you do things. It’s human nature to feel judged, but that’s also the greatest obstacle to making the most of life and everything that comes with it. I can’t help but urge you to read there’s-no-better-time-to-be-happy-than-now piece by Crystal Boyd.
Spend your QLC thinking of what really matters in life, because that’s all that matters. And know that you’re not alone, we’re all in it together.
Also read: 25 things I’d tell the 25-year-old me
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I’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star.
In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life.
Connect with me on Instagram to hear more about my adventures and personal journey.