The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
A quarter life crisis is a period of stress and anxiety when young adults experience “the real world,” along with some other bittersweet realities. In a way, I think we all go through a period of this stress and anxiety; as young adults we’re beginning to take on more responsibilities and trying to balance our social lives with work and school, all while trying to better understand ourselves. We often feel that we’re “not where we should be,” and we long for what we don’t have which leads to these awful feelings, often referred to as a quarter life crisis. I’ve compiled a list of some crucial things to remember if you feel lost or uneasy.
Comparison is the thief of joy
Social media plays a role in what we believe our lives should be like when in reality we often fail to recognize that individuals only share part of their lives on social media. Most of what we see on social media are the highlights of people’s lives — rarely do people post about how stressed they are about work or school or the fight they had with their S.O. By comparing yourself to the way you think your relationship should be, what kind of home you think you should have, or what career you should be in, you’re taking away from your own happiness. It’s difficult not to compare ourselves, especially in a society where we share so much of our lives publicly. But it’s important to take a step back and recognize that there’s so much more occurring in someone’s life than what they post on Instagram.
Your life may not occur at the pace you want it to but it will happen
Something that has been difficult for me as I’ve entered my twenties is seeing people in my life at such different points in theirs — I have some friends and family members my age who are getting married, having kids, traveling the world, working their dream job. For the longest time I’ve felt like my life needed to match this idealistic timeline that I created in my mind when I was younger. It’s confusing when you feel so happy for your friends that are marrying the love of their life when you’re still single and in and out of relationships, waiting to finally meet someone who will genuinely care and be there for you. But I think there’s also beauty in being single at this age as it gives you time to really learn what you do and don’t want in a relationship — you can dedicate more time to yourself and work towards the goals you’d like to achieve. The things we’re longing for will certainly happen one day and it’ll be amazing when it does, but don’t forget to cherish the present as best you can.
Work towards your goals and focus on what you can control
In a time where so much is up in the air and things are constantly changing, it can be difficult to not feel helpless. But even when things are ever-changing, we can begin to find peace when we focus on what we can control. Setting a routine, practicing self-care, and setting reasonable goals will help immensely. So whether you plan out your days or make a to-do list for the things that you need to get done in the next week, it’s gratifying to be able to check things off and see progress when working towards the goals you’ve set. If you have larger goals, begin to break them into smaller goals/groups so that you can consistently be working towards that goal. If you feel like you’re spiraling because things are uncertain, pay attention to what you can control and how it makes you feel — your meals, movement, the people around you, meditation, your schedule, your self-talk, etc. As an overthinker and dedicated planner, the last two years have been difficult for me. When I had a really rough patch, though, my dad would tell me to focus on what I can control and it helped me to bring focus back into what I can do for myself, friends, family, and community.
Celebrate your wins — big and small
We often undermine our own successes because we’re comparing them to someone else’s. If you started meditating again, got a promotion, graduated, passed an exam, or made a bomb ass meal, it should be celebrated. And I’m not saying you need to throw a party every time one of these things occur, but you should appreciate where you started and where you ended up when you dedicated yourself to something. Even when things don’t go exactly the way that we planned, we can still learn from it and appreciate the good things that may have come from it, even if it’s just learning not to do it again. Appreciate where you are at this moment and allow yourself to be proud of all that you’ve achieved.
The pandemic has greatly affected all of us, and those entering young adulthood may have been catapulted into taking on more responsibilities or felt that they missed out on part of their life that was supposed to be fun and carefree. However, it is important to know that we still have so much time and so many amazing things left to experience. Our lives don’t have to match our preconceived ideas of what we think we should be doing; when we begin to accept things as they are and work towards the life we want, we will see that things don’t have to always go the way we had hoped for them to have a happy outcome.