Are you in your 20s and questioning your life’s purpose?
Perhaps you’re wondering what’s the next direction you should take or if the choices you’ve made so far have been the right ones.
Honestly, there’s no specific age for when you’ll experience a quarter-life crisis.
But it may be triggered by significant life events that are happening around you or to you.
If you think you’re experiencing a quarter-life crisis, read on to find out if you’re exhibiting these 5 signs.
We’ll also find out how we can overcome this!
1) You’re feeling lost.
You may be considering marriage or having a baby, about to buy your first home, or embarking on a career change.
Friends around your age will similarly experience this, as this life stage is (generally) when you take the next step in various areas of life.
And… it can get very overwhelming.
You may start questioning yourself if this is the right path you should take. Committing to the wrong one may cause you to regret it in the long term.
But guess what? You’re not alone in this.
It’s normal to feel lost and unsure about what to do with your life. People well into their 40s or 50s rarely have it figured out as well.
What you can do
If you’re not sure which step to take, speak to someone who is more experienced in this area. It could be a professional, or an older close friend or family member.
They’ll be able to share what they’ve gone through and guide you as you navigate this period of uncertainty.
In your own time, write out goals for each area of your life and break them down.
We’re wired to better understand things that we can see in front of us; so a milestone five, ten, or even twenty years into the future may be hard to visualize.
Set up a vision board so you can see what you’re working towards.
Whether it’s a big, happy family or a dream house – make sure you set it up in a place that you’ll pass by daily. Chart out a path that’ll get you there and when you’re done, things may seem less scary.
Perhaps this may be the beginning of a chapter of growth, where you realize that you want more out of life.
Which may lead to the next sign.
2) You desire change.
Perhaps your life has become routine. After all, for most of us who have landed a 9-5 job, or who’ve started a family, things gradually settle into a routine.
We wake up, head to work, work, leave work, connect with friends and family, head home (take care of the household/look after your children/catch up on Netflix), sleep, and the cycle starts again.
For some of us, work and family commitments may take up the bulk of our lives and we may not have time to socialize with people. We may not even have people to hang out with.
Whatever your life looks like right now, there’s a restlessness within you. It’s like an itch that you just can’t reach but demands to be scratched.
When this happens, trust me, spontaneous decisions will sound incredibly tempting.
What you can do
It’s also good to take a pause and figure out the cause of this restlessness.
Have you been spending too much time on social media? Do you think you should expand your social circle and meet new friends? Do you need a change in environment for a while, get out of the city, and immerse yourself in nature?
And I say this because sometimes when faced with this situation, we may make decisions on a whim, which could do more harm than good.
3) You want to do something drastic.
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a traffic jam or staring into space amid a ton of emails and wondering, “What if I just restarted my life? How different would it be?”
You may entertain the thought of leaving your job, ending a relationship, or even moving to a new town or country.
Now all these are not bad things. But if life has been going okay, you may want to take a step back before doing something that may sound good at that moment, but not so much in the long run.
Change is exciting and when you find yourself in a rut, new beginnings seem like such an exhilarating notion.
It’s important to figure out the why (why you want to change this part of your life) before you work out the what (what you want to achieve), and then the how.
What you can do
Break the monotony; take another route home or cycle to work. Sign up for something you’d never consider doing, like singing, baking, or learning how to ski.
Go for a short vacation or challenge yourself by signing up for a marathon, triathlon, or an expedition up a mountain – and train for it.
The idea is to lift yourself out of a rut. Life may be going perfectly well for you, but you’re just understimulated.
4) You have lost interest in your passions.
Feeling overwhelmed and lost may cause you to lose interest in the things you once enjoyed doing.
You may have even buried yourself in these passions or hobbies to stave off these negative feelings, or to put off major decisions you need to make. But reality will always surface at the end of the day.
If left unchecked, you may start to lose interest in everything else and lack the motivation to complete simple tasks.
This could even lead to feelings of hopelessness and depression. Before it gets to that, try remembering why you pursued these hobbies in the first place and how they used to lift your spirits.
What you can do
Perhaps you could also try introducing these hobbies to someone else and participating in them together. Find an interest group and interact with like-minded people who will help you rekindle your passion for these activities.
It’ll also help expand your social circle and you can make new friends in the process!
5) You start comparing yourself with others.
What’s worse when you’re feeling stuck? Seeing everyone else thrive.
This period of your life is when people around you will experience significant changes as well.
For some of your friends, the decision on which partner to settle down with or whether to embark on a career change seems much easier for them to make.
It’s natural to compare your life with others, especially when social media makes it so easy. But people only show what they want others to see.
They may have gone through a similar struggle as well. They may even be struggling behind the picture-perfect smiles.
It’s important to remember that life is not a race.
What matters more is that at the end of the day, you achieve what you’ve set out to do, even though it may not meet societal expectations or even your parents’ expectations of you.
So, you are going through a quarter-life crisis. Well, the next step is to address this.
If you’re paralyzed with indecision or overwhelmed by major decisions you have to make, know that you have people around you who can help guide you. You’re not doing this alone.
Seek their advice; they may have perspectives you’ve never considered before.
Then, go and explore!
Try new things and seek out different experiences; not only do these add color to life, but also expand your horizon to possibilities you may not have thought about.
At the end of the day, make sure that whatever decision or next step you make is because you want to do it. Not because you’re trying to fulfill your parents’ or partner’s expectations of you.
And finally, be kind to yourself.
Our wants and needs evolve with each season of life, so it’s perfectly alright not to have things figured out at all right this moment.