How to handle a quarter life crisis?
The other day, I was speaking to a friend, and she said I’m having a quarter life crisis.
I’m not in a relationship and I want to be married by 30. Seeing as I’m 27, I’d literally have to meet that person tomorrow.
I’m now considering 2 different fields with where I want to go with my career, which might mean taking a step back and going into a more entry-level role.
I feel like I don’t have anything in my life in order or in place. How do I make myself feel better?
1) Existential crises are obviously not fun, but reflection from time to time is good
Existential crises are obviously not good because it implies you’re in a state of panic from feeling inadequate and not successful/not where you want to be, and a lot of the feelings might be coming from overthinking, overanalyzing, being too hard on yourself and not having perspective.
What I will say, and it’s hard to do to have this perspective while having an existential crisis, I will say I think it’s good that you’re evaluating your life.
I think it’s important in life to reflect from time to time, take a step back and look at the whole picture and see where you’re at and evaluate all that’s going on in your life. I think a lot of us just live mindlessly and don’t evaluate the different variables in our life.
I guess my point is — I think evaluation is a good thing. Society terms this crisis you know at different age — 18, 22, 25, 30, 35, 40, whatever. I think we can just call them life evaluations at different ages.
I also want to say — there’s a healthy amount of reflecting which is good. Every person is different but I would say reflecting every month isn’t healthy, it’s too quick of a time interval to judge. I would say reflecting every 6 months to 1 a year is probably as quick an interval I would reflect on.
Again, this is very hard to do while you’re having an existential crisis, but I do think it’s good to have some level of being upset in life in terms of — it’s important to want and strive for good things to happen in your life. That’s a healthy quality, it means you care.
2) My second piece of advice, again I don’t mean to attack people’s level of anxiety, is to remember what little help panicking is
Panicking/having an existential crisis really won’t do anything other than cause you stress and anxiety. Your situation doesn’t get helped by having anxiety.
So, I would recommend, take a couple deep breaths and ask yourself, what do I control?
For me, how I look at it, is I just control the present moment and today. So, focus on the moment and today.
I also control the variables of how I’m living my life. And that takes us to #3.
3) How can you better the situation?
In all adversities in life, the situation is the situation. For example, if I’m single at 27, that’s just the situation.
Though we don’t always control our situation, we do control how we respond to it. Your situation will only be helped/remediated through strategy and action.
So, ask yourself, what are the situations in my life, how are they doing, how would I want them to be doing, and how can I start working to better the situation?
Let’s say, your important variables are
Evaluate each one with the categories of where I am, where I want to be, and how can I try and improve the situation and bridge the gap?
So, for example, for relationship, you can say I’m 27 and I’m single. I want to be in a relationship.
How I can improve the situation will require self-reflection.
Your problem may be you’re not giving yourself the opportunity to meet enough people. So, how do you increase the number of people you’re meeting?
Can you start hanging out with friends from work? Can you join an adult sports league? Can you join a professional networking group?
Or your problem may be you’re going on dates, but they’re not leading to long-term relationships. Then you’ll have to evaluate, am I saying yes to the right people? Am I giving the dates enough time to develop? Do I need to work on something internally to make people more confident that I’m a good long-term partner?
4) Is your worriedness coming from you or from society?
For example, with my friend, her not being in a relationship, she’s extremely self-conscious. If you asked her, the main reason she’s self-conscious, is because society has this idea that’s perpetuated that you need to be married by 30. She’s had a couple friends already get engaged and so it’s constantly in the back of her mind.
The pressure or anxiety you’re feeling about that — is that coming from you or from worrying about how society thinks of you?
If it’s coming from you, I think it’s important to understand feeling anxious about something doesn’t help it. For example, feeling desperate to get into a relationship might lead you to entering a relationship that’s not really meant for you.
If it’s coming from society, ignore them. As individuals, we have to live our lives. We don’t all fit into one rule. Every subject in school isn’t for everyone. Ask yourself things like, what really is the difference between 31 and 30 or 32 and 30? Why are we obsessed with 30 as the standard when we’re going to live another 50 more years?
5) What is your relationship with patience?
I think it’s important to think about evaluating your relationship with patience. With the average life expectancy going up, most of us will live between 80–100 years, hopefully.
Why are you in such a rush?
Obviously, in the personal life aspect with women who want children, there is a timing factor for having children, I get that. That’s a reasonable concern.
However, with more professional things, if you’re in a corporate environment, when have you seen a 30-year-old CEO? Most senior business leaders are in their 40s or 50s for a reason. It takes time. Or what’s the rush for success? To show off to your friends?
I hope these help — understand healthy reflection from time to time is good, being upset and wanting things to be better is also healthy, realize panicking won’t help you, create strategy and actions to help with your situation and also go into self-reflection and hold yourself accountable for what you control in your situation, evaluate whether your worriedness is coming from society or yourself, and develop a better relationship with patience.