Feeling weighed down by a sea of worries that really shouldn’t affect you so much? Confused on where you’re at in life and which path you should explore next? What if I told you it’s potentially a sign of your quarter life crisis? Yes it’s a real thing and no, you’re not just experiencing the standard mid semester meltdown!
Gone are the days where young people enjoy the freedom of being care free and it’s our parents we see struggling with the realisation they’ve reached the ‘half way’ mark. Us millennials are constantly facing shitty situations that both test our mental ability to keep things under control and makes us question how on earth we’ll ever afford a home, but it’s okay because it’s all avocado’s fault.
Dr Oliver Robinson from the University of Greenwich has delved into the research field and identified why young adults find themselves going through a crisis stage so early. He links it back to how we’re constantly faced with challenges that were less prevalent for those generations before us, and how the contexts in which we’re developing as a young adult have drastically changed over time. Sounds familiar… generational inequality anyone?
Now before you go thinking the mini meltdown you experienced yesterday due to a lack of caffeine constitutes a quarter life crisis let’s get educated on the concept first.
According to Dr Robinson’s research, a quarter life crisis brings on severe feelings of confusion, doubt and uncertainty, particularly when the person finds themselves either adopting new lifestyle choices or experiencing inner conflicts when unable to maintain pre-planned commitments. This extends to all areas of life (relationships, social groups, employment, lifestyle and more).
The below TEDx talk highlights this often occurs when we transition from an academic world we’ve become accustomed to, into the real working world. Angst and anxiety can impact our choices and leave us unsure of what steps to take next.
It’s no secret that young people have huge amounts of pressure placed on them to succeed. On the one hand we’re told to ‘reach for the stars’ and ‘anything is possible’ yet when we try to do so we’re criticised for being needy, unmotivated and lazy. We face an ongoing battle of not only attempting to understand ourselves and the world around us, but we juggle the emotional effects of managing others expectations and opinions of us too.
I am sure we have all experienced stress and casually laughed it off, but did you ever stop to think about the damage this causes to your health? Research shows 51% of young Australians agree their life is too stressful, ranking Australia in 18th place on a global scale for youth stress. With 45% of Australia’s youth population feeling their health is less than perfect; shouldn’t we be paying more attention to these alarming signs rather than attributing it to a normal part of growing up? At the very least we should be identifying ways to reduce this emotional toll and arm ourselves with the ability to overcome stressful situations efficiently.
Now this might not be the answer for everyone, but hear me out. As someone who finds it difficult to remain calm when I have a) no idea what is going on, b) no control over the situation at hand, or c) stressed myself out over the potential of failure, I can honestly say this one insightful book: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight, has helped me stop worrying about the millions of little things that cause unnecessary stress. I suddenly feel ready to handle the curveballs life throws my way and I want YOU to feel this way too.
Seriously, do yourself a favour and get your hands on a copy now, you can thank me later. This book teaches you how to declutter and reorganise your mental space by, you guessed it, not giving a fuck. It’s that simple (almost).
At its core, the book identifies how to stop spending time you don’t have doing things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like. Once you adopt Sarah’s ‘NotSorry Method’ your life will change, trust me. In order to do this successfully you need to stop worrying about things that don’t matter, identify and prioritise things that do and gracefully decline the shit that doesn’t.
What I found Sarah tapped into here is that we are forever worrying about what other people think. But we don’t need to! It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to go you know what; this isn’t for me and I’m going to do something I truly love. The world is not going to end because you changed your mind or decided to take the less travelled path of no fucks given.
Focussing on yourself is not selfish and making life decisions based on your personal happiness is going to be what gets you through life. It’s okay to fail, you’ll learn and next time you’ll kick ass and smash those goals. You do you!
Going through the stages of a quarter life crisis isn’t the end of the world; it’s an opportunity to question who you are, who you want to be and who you want to surround yourself with. Taking notice of these questions will help you develop your personal understanding and identify the paths that appeal to you. It’s healthy and it might just help you figure out exactly what you want to do with your life. And if it doesn’t, well lucky you’ve got a long time to figure it out!
We millennials may worry about our future prospects, we may continue being pushed out of economic opportunities those before us took for granted, but we’re a smart, hard working group of young individuals and no quarter life crisis is going to stop us from striving for greatness!