Just like a midlife crisis, a quarter life crisis can also be a defining phase in anyone’s life. On an average, a quarter life crisis lasts for around a year and can shape the trajectory of one’s entire life. After all, not everyone takes “adulating” so easily. In order to handle it, you need to look for the major signs of a quarter life crisis and identify it before it causes any drastic change in your life.
I know this because I have recently come out of a similar situation a while back. It was almost two years back when I suffered from a quarter life crisis. One morning, I left my job, switched cities, and made some unexpected decisions because I was not feeling fulfilled. Soon, I realized that just like me, millions of other people also go through something similar.
As surprising as it might sound, sometimes your quarter life crisis can be the best thing that can happen to you. It might give you more clarity in the end and can act as a wake-up call. Nevertheless, at times, it can end up causing havoc in your life as well. In order to handle a quarter life crisis thoughtfully, look for these signs and try to understand if you are going through something similar or not.
- You feel trapped in your life
This is undoubtedly one of the biggest signs. You feel as if the life that you are living is not good enough. Too often, you feel tired of doing the same things every single day. There are days when you just don’t feel like getting up in the morning. You start questioning the social norms and your work environment since everything in your life makes you feel unfulfilled and trapped.
- You don’t enjoy your work
Your work can directly impact your well-being and shape your psychology as well. Let’s consider this scenario – you have just finished your education and now you have started working. Nevertheless, your work doesn’t seem exciting anymore. What will you do now?
It will make you question your past decisions and create a lot of trouble in your life. This is something that millions of people go through. You do everything that you are supposed to do in an auto-pilot mode, but there is no sense of passion in it anymore. I would suggest taking a step back and contemplating a bit instead of taking a rash decision.
- You don’t get along with your friends and family
As we grow old, we get to know ourselves on a deeper level. When we know about our preferences and get comfortable in our skin, we gradually start resisting anything that we don’t like. It might happen that you would start to distance yourself from your family and friends. With time, we question our own existence and gradually seek comfort in loneliness, which can be addictive.
- You feel like a failure
There are times when we all feel as if we have failed ourselves and the people around us. It mostly happens when we compare our life with others. Yes, some of your friends and siblings could be doing better than you. They could be accomplishing more or crossing prominent milestones in their life. The more you compare your life will them, the more unfulfilled you would feel.
Trust me – it is a bottomless pit. You can’t compare the first chapter of your life with someone else’s twentieth chapter. We all have our own clock. Your journey would be different. Give it some time and stop comparing your life with others.
- You lack clarity
When we were kids, we all had this perfect plan in the back of our mind. By 30, we would be married, have a fulfilling job, would be well-traveled, and living a perfect life. Sadly, life doesn’t always work like that. As we grow up, we start losing control. Our plans turn into chaos and we lose focus.
Take a deep breath and start prioritizing. You are not supposed to have it all figured out. Take a risk and have faith in the universe – it might have a bigger plan for you.
- You can’t seem to manage your finances
We all struggle with our finances in our early twenties. This makes us question the decisions we have made in the past as well. Yes, you might struggle a bit at the start of your career, which can cause a quarter life crisis in your life. Though, you need to understand that it would be a temporary phase. As you would progress in your career, you would start saving more. Just give it some time – you will have it all figured out in a few years.
- You switch jobs way too often
This is one of those classic signals of a quarter life crisis. Since we don’t feel content with our job, we end up switching it way too many times. Don’t worry – there is nothing wrong with trying new things in your early twenties. You are just trying to figure out what you are good at, right?
Don’t hold on to a mistake just because you made a lot of time making it. I did my masters in Computer Science, worked in an IT firm form a year, switched to marketing, and after a few years, ended up working as a freelance writer. Okay – this might not be the best example to start with, but you need to know that a job won’t define your entire life. If you know you can’t do a job for the rest of your life, try to identify something else that makes you happy and work on it instead.
- You can’t have a lasting relationship
Not just jobs, you find it hard to hold on to a relationship for too long as well. You crave for a perfect relationship and even a small glitch in your world makes you flip out. You need to understand that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Why? Because people are not perfect.
Try not to idealize your relationship based on the Mills and Boon novels (or rom-com Bollywood movies) that you were exposed to when you were a kid. If you know you have found someone special, then try to make an effort.
- You feel left behind
You open your social media and see your friends getting married, having babies, or traveling to exotic locations almost every day. This makes you feel as if you are missing out on something or being left behind. I was going through something similar as well since my life was nowhere near the timeline that I gave myself a few years back.
As I said before, we all have our own clock. Live your life in the best way and stop comparing it with anyone else if you truly want to be happy.
- You are being crushed by stress and anxiety
In our twenties, we overwork and always find ourselves chasing deadlines. From our personal life to our work, there could numerous reasons for stress and anxiety. A lot of people who go through a quarter life crisis say how often they feel stressed on an everyday basis.
Try to note down how often you feel anxious or stressed and what triggers it most of the times. If the frequency is too much, then you certainly need to work on it. Instead of making a life-changing decision, try to relax a bit. Practice meditation and don’t let your work take a toll on your lifestyle.
- You feel agitated and depressed at times
There are times when we all feel a bit sad and unfulfilled. Though, if it becomes a pattern, then you should be alarmed. Depression and frustration are some of the major signals of a quarter life crisis. Not only it affects our own psychology, but it can tamper with our relationships as well. If left unchecked, it can have a long-term impact on our life. If you think you are depressed, then I would strongly recommend getting some professional help.
- You get a constant feeling of escapism
If you keep checking airfares, new travel destinations, jobs in different cities, and other ways to escape your life, then you should be alarmed. These are some of the prominent signs of a quarter life crisis. Since we no longer feel content with our life, we try to find ways to escape it.
Though, sometimes it is just a slight change in our life that we crave for. Try to plan a vacation at least once in 4-6 months. Do something you love more often. Read some interesting books, watch movies, or simply spend some quality time with your loved ones. Focus on the good things in your life and no longer would you feel like escaping from it.
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I hope that after getting to know about these common signs of a quarter life crisis, you would be able to identify if you are going through a similar situation or not. Also, if you think a friend or a family member is having a quarter life crisis, then look for these signs and give them a helping hand.
With some thoughtfulness, anyone can overcome this phase and have more clarity in their life. Just keep holding on to it, take one day at a time, and you will be fine. It might not feel like it – but you are exactly where you are supposed to be. All you need is more time.
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