You’ve finished school, embarked on your first few jobs and now you think, is this it? Adulthood has lost a bit of its sheen and you’re unsure how to proceed with all the freedom and options before you.
Ever wondered why you feel older for the first time in your life? You are unmotivated, devoid of passion and lack direction. You are concerned that you don’t seem to know what you want to do with your life. You feel pressure to grow up and get your adult life in order. You feel entitled to a life much grander than the one you are living.
You feel a lot of pressure and expectations to do, have or be something. You feel that time is running out wth regard to figuring out your career and deciding whether you want to get married and/or have children. You are stressed out by choices that seemingly will affect the rest of your life. You know what you want to do, but can’t seem to make it work.
It’s difficult for you to make decisions and when you do, you question them. You overanalyze yourself and frequently compare yourself to your peers and feel like you don’t measure up. You feel financially unstable. Your self-esteem can use some boosting. You are constantly thinking about the future, resulting in anxiety and possibly panic.
Welcome to ‘quarter-life crisis’, a period of anxiety, uncertainty and inner turmoil that often accompanies the transition to adulthood. A normal and natural rite of passage, that everyone of us must tackle upon attaining 20-something and early 30’s, is a phase that no one warns us about.
The ‘quarter-life’ crisis is such a confusing, scary, frustrating, exciting, stimulating, and transformational time. Unfortunately, high school diplomas and university degrees do not provide instructions for the “real world.”
You have to believe in and truly get to know yourself in order to have clarity about your dreams and goals as well as insights on how to reach them. But that is no easy task, especially in a society that is so externally focused and driven by expectations.
I guess we have bought into some misunderstanding that by our late 20’s and early 30’s that we are supposed to have our entire life figured out. This is false, instead it’s a rather messy rite of passage without any fancy ceremonies or parties to mark that we are through them. Once we remove this intense pressure to do, be, and have so much on the outside, and shift our focus inside, we embrace it as a transitional time.
Up until now, your entire life may have been well- scripted and now you are at a point in your life where you have to answer your own questions. Before you try to answer all the questions about what to be and who to be with, there is a very fundamental question to answer: WHO ARE YOU?
Now, for those of you thinking that you do not have time for self-discovery, my response to you is that you cannot afford not to. The alternative is to continue to spin in your quarter life crisis and make choices based on fear, other people’s advice, expectations, or societal pressures.
And there is nothing wrong with that if you are prepared to have a mid-life crisis as well!
Emmanuel Nyagapfizi is a Management Information Systems manager