As a counsellor, I have seen many young adults come in claiming that they are depressed. From my perspective what they might actually be experiencing can be termed as ‘quarter life crisis’.
Then the question arises “What is quarter life crisis?’’
This is a new phenomenon that is happening to young adults who are in their twenties and thirties. Fresh graduates who are entering the “real world”, suddenly, find themselves under a lot of pressure to succeed vocationally, relationally and financially even before hitting their thirties!
Signs that you are facing a quarter life crisis:
1. You are confused about what your next step in life should be – Is this what I want in life? Will I be stuck here? What can I do next? There are tons of questions that you don’t seem to be able to answer.
2. You are overwhelmed by all the possibilities out there – The modern economy is fast and dynamic; it’s in a constant state of change. Adapt or succumb to change is your only option. This create high stress and anxiety effect on you.
3. You feel stuck in terms of your life choices and you feel like you don’t have control over your own future – Do you feel pressure to marry and have children before 30? Some of your friends may already be married and have a high paying job to accommodate their luxurious lifestyle whereas you are still questioning the decisions you made for your life.
4. You keep jumping from one career to another – You spend a lot of time wondering if you should work for money or follow your passion and do what you love. You have second-guessed your choice of career field. You have been wondering if you should go abroad to explore the opportunities or stay where your family and friends are?
Ways to cope:
1. Become aware – Identify which aspects of your life you struggle with and break them down into smaller segment. Look at it one by one. Eg. Don’t mix relationship issues with career. Compartmentalize them.
2. Don’t be hard on yourself – Remember that you are a beginner and it takes time to adjust. Venturing into something new is a tough transition so be patient.
3. Don’t be afraid to try new things – It is okay to make mistakes as you journey through this phase in your life. You will slowly gain experience as you go along and this will be your priceless assets. It is like learning how to ride a bicycle once you master it you will be able to do it without having to think of it much.
4. Recognize your achievement – Recognise your accomplishments. Take pride in them. Be grateful for them. It will provide you with the energy to keep moving forward. Take comfort in knowing that through hard work and determination, everything else will fall into place.
5. Seek help from a counselor or a mentor – Despite everything that you have tried, find a counsellor/career mentor to help you strategize what your next move should be. They are trained to identify problems people face and will be able to empower a person who is facing difficulties find practical solutions to their problems.
Lastly, quarter life crisis is not a crisis! It is only an expected development of personal growth, an evolution of yourself. You are growing, learning and noticing new talents as you grow. It is not a crisis if you have not achieved greatness by your late twenties and it is okay to make mistakes as it helps us become better human beings. As long as you continue to love yourself, continue to discover your potentials, and continue to evolve into your authentic self just remember that every step you take in life is help you become something better. So, if at any point of time you come across a hurdle in your path don’t let it overturn you, just keep going as this is just a small dent in the road, to the beginning of the rest of your life. After all this is what is called LIFE.
Guest Contributor: Faith Foo, Registered & Licensed Counsellor