What are the quarter life crisis and three tips on how to cope?
In this blog, I want to talk about something that has affected me personally. This last week I’ve been working on my latest idea. It is still titleless I’m afraid, but revolves around Arthur, who I mentioned in my blog The Benefits of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone.
Arthur has a particular kind of dementia, and to portray that well, I’ve been doing a lot of research into mental health issues. As well as dementia, I’ve been looking into depression, bipolar and low mood. During this little excursion, I have found something that, up until now, I was unaware of.
The quarter life crisis
I’m familiar with the mid-life crisis, the feeling that half of your life has gone by and you haven’t done enough.
But a quarter life crisis? This sounded odd but interesting. So being the nosey thing that I am, I looked into it further. What I discovered left me … well, not shocked, but uncomfortable, at least at first. What I was reading was hitting home with me. The feelings of being measured and found wanting, a sense that I should be enjoying this time of my life not stressing over it, and the constant comparison with everyone else’s idealised lives.
The more I read, the more I saw myself.
Most of the articles I read talked specifically about career, which I can confidently say I am reasonably happy with at the moment. Some of the articles were more generalised. They talked about life, not just career, after all, there is a lot more to life than just your job. It was those articles in particular that I feel I took something positive away from.
I thought I would share those with you.
This is a lot more normal than I expected it was
Yup, apparently this is a pretty standard way for a lot of 20-somethings to feel. We don’t talk about it because we’re busy painting these idealised pictures of ourselves to hide the fact that now and then we all struggle.
I for one have had enough of it; I’m quite happy to say that I’ll be thirty next year and I am not where I thought I would be. I’m still scraping for pennies each month, I’m not as confident in my legal career as I would like, and I’m not as successful in my writing career as I would like, I still make foolish mistakes, and I still cannot cook a roast without burning something.
It won’t last forever
That’s something at least. Sooner or later my brain will stop this little self-destructive spiral, and it will look at what I am and say “We’re doing pretty good,” I for one cannot wait for that day to come.
You can bring that day closer
There are little habits that we can all do to bring the day we are more accepting of ourselves closer.
Stop the comparison
Seriously STOP IT. It’s easier said than done I know, but we need to stop this, it’s unbelievably self-destructive. Other people are not you; they’re goals and triumphs will be different to yours. Congratulate them on reaching their goals but do not beat yourself up for not achieving your own yet. You’re on a different path to everyone else; you’ll be less likely to trip over your own feet if you watch where you are going rather than rubbernecking at all the people on the other paths. (woo! Metaphor!)
Ignore and cut the negative people out of your life.
I for one can think of two people, off the top of my head, who criticise me regularly (at least it feels that way). Every time I manage to reach a goal, finish a project or sell a book they are always there to say “hhhrrrmmm, well it’s good but it’s not quite Carling is it?” (this advert is fitting for this blog, these people do amazing things and should be praised, but they are classed as failures, check out one of the series here. I am aware that these adverts are comical, and a sarcastic way to say how awesome Carling is, but my point remains, beer guy is a dick). These people are poison, you’ve got a little voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough you don’t need one outside doing it as well. You don’t need to start a drama just get them out of the picture. Or buy good ear plugs.
Don’t be afraid to change the goal posts
A lot of us do this already; we reach a goal, then move the goal post further away so that our impressive victory no longer feels that excellent, it just feels like a stepping stone on the way to another goal. That’s lame. But moving the goal posts can sometimes be a good thing.
This is something I can relate to as I have done it myself. When I was at university, I studied to be a solicitor. I spent four years of my life doing this, all with the idea that one day I would be a qualified solicitor. Then I got a job in a legal firm, and over time I learned what parts of the job I liked and what parts I did not. Sadly the parts I did not enjoy as much turned out to be the majority of the work of a qualified solicitor. Suddenly I went from desperately wanting a training contract to actively avoiding one. It took me a long time (a long time) to come to terms with this. But once I did, and once I took a long look at what I wanted, the decision was an easy one. I changed my goal posts, and I am a lot (actually lots and lots and lots) happier with my career now than I was a year ago. I’m not going to lie to you, it wasn’t easy, and there are days when I wonder if I made the right decision (a lot of days in the beginning) and there are other days when I’m convinced everything is terrible. But those days are stopping, they are becoming a tiny minority, and I’m a lot happier for it overall.
This doesn’t just apply to careers either. It applies to everything we do if something isn’t making you happy then change it!
Katie Marie wrote a Book. A big one and a couple of little ones. Check them out!