• Neha Kalavati

Understanding quarter-life crisis

Quarter-life crisis is often talked about, But how does it actually feel like going through one? Lets find out!

market of clay pots

Your twenties is like a box of chocolates, there is every flavor of sweets in there, Every variant. The only rule is, whether you like it or not, You have to taste them all. The twenties are like entering into a whole new world with endless opportunities and possibilities.

Nobody is going to tell you what to do and what not to do! This, to me, is both exciting and terrifying. The excitement and overwhelm are two sides of young adulthood.

Life will never be as colorful and happening as in the twenties.

It's like a play filled with characters, You meet many new people! Life is bold, full of freedom, Yet there you are, pondering upon how scary this is to you, Isn't it?! You are not alone, As many 20-somethings are coming forward with the same feelings, describing them as "contemplating if they lived their 1/3rd life in fast forward mode", and now it's terrifying for them to think what's next?.

"Work is about a search for daily meaning and daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor, in short for a sort of life rather than a Monday to Friday sort of dying." —Studs Terkel

To talk about my own life, I struggle with my own unique tribulations of a quarter-life crisis, I will turn 26 this October 2021 and the thought of what my life will look like just two years from now terrifies me. Even with a degree, I struggled with finding a decent paying job, only to realize that it felt depleting and took a toll over my mental health.

Many 20-something who are freshly graduated feel this way. Although the struggles of quarter-life crises come in different shapes and sizes. People in their mid-twenties and late twenties have their own set of trials to deal with. Often carrying the pressure to settle down, 28-year-old Manasa (names changed for the sake of privacy) is concerned that she may never find the right partner and has wasted her 20s dating down.

She worked hard in her early 20s to pay her student debt, But now she describes her career as dreadful and uninspiring. The muse defines this phase as

"a period of intense soul searching and stress occurring in your mid-20s and early 30s."

As the author of emerging adulthood Jeffery Arnett puts it,

"we go in a lot of directions, change jobs a lot, change love partners" -- all in an attempt to figure out who we are and how we adjust into this world."

On the contrary, some of the young adults between the ages 25-33, stay stuck in a job they don't enjoy, stay in relationships that they know have no future, and simultaneously question their identities. LinkedIn surveyed 6000 young adults in their 20s and 30s from the U.S, Britain, and India, discovering that around 75% of youth does go through a quarter-life crisis, 51% of them were women!

"I feel, I am in the middle of the ocean, I can go in any direction, Although I'm confused which way to go, There can be land in any direction and what if I chose the opposite direction. I don't want to take a risk!" says 23-year-old Aisha, when asked about her career choices. Men are not too far away from the crisis, either.

Rohan, Another 26 years old mechanical engineer, is unable to figure out what is causing him distress. He often finds himself questioning his 4 yr old relationship, He also expressed about having anxiety when asked to communicate about his future. He panics when social media gets flooded with "just got hitched" pictures of his friends. And says," owning a Lamborghini was my dream when I was a teenager, it still is, The realization that I am in my late 20s, and yet unable to fulfill my teenage dream shits-cares me".

Looking at the bright side

While the thought of surviving the 20s may be terrifying, it's quintessential for our growth. In many ways, the quarter-life crisis turns out to be beneficial to us. This crisis makes us question our identity and purpose, which will shift our course to a whole new "meaningful" life. It is the meaning that makes our life worth living. If we live our life without finding purpose, imagine what kind of life would that be! And the entire idea of going through a crisis is this!

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