As you embrace a series of transitions and significant milestones in your life towards adulthood, there’s always an attempt to figure out who you are and how you fit in the world. While it’s almost the end of your academic year, you may be thinking why it still feels like you’re in the wrong strand. “Is this really the path that I want to take?” you constantly ask yourself. Yet, your long train of thoughts just leads to a more confusing question: “Why is everything seems to be out of place?”
“Why do I feel like I’m kind of having a life crisis at 18?” “Is quarter-life crisis real?”
Quarter-life crisis: What is it about?
Quarter-life crisis involves anxiety over the quality and direction of one’s life, most commonly experienced by young professionals ranging from their 20s to their early 30s. However, it can begin as early as 18. It is in this stage that you may feel confusion, dissatisfaction, insecurity or uncertainties in all areas of your life—from your studies to social relationships.
So what triggers quarter-life crisis among youths? According to clinical psychologist Dr. Alex Fowke, quarter-life crisis can “stem from a period of life following the major changes of adolescence, when a person starts to doubt their own lives and begins to face the extent of the stresses associated with becoming an adult.”
The pressure of finding your passion, high expectations from society, and even “distorted notion of life through social media” can also be factors. That person you followed on Instagram who seems to be the epitome of #lifegoals or your batch mates who are now studying abroad can cause unhelpful comparisons.
What are the signs of quarter-life crisis?
It may not always be obvious, but having a constant feeling of dissatisfaction on some areas of your life can be a signal.
- Feeling undecided. Finding yourself incapable of making decisions even on insignificant ones.
- Over-comparison. You can’t help but to compare yourself with your peers every now and then –their academic achievements or social happenings.
- Feeling trapped. When something inside tells you to go out and explore the world but you’re afraid and don’t know what do.
- Negative feelings. Seeing your newsfeed with posts from your friends about passing an entrance exam to a top university or old friends hanging out and you can’t seem to feel anything but a strange mix of jealousy, disdain or insecurity.
- Autopilot. Having the feeling of detachment for everything around you.
How do you cope with quarter-life crisis?
- Accept that it’s actually happening. You can never correct something you don’t admit. Acceptance is the very first step to get through your crisis.
- Learn to be kind to yourself. Treat yo self! Carve out some time for yourself to do something that brings you joy. Write some journal, listen to your favorite music, or cook something special for dinner.
- Take time to reflect. Take a step back and write down what is bringing you stress may it be at school or your personal life. This will allow you to address the problem and have a chance to fix them.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone has their own journey. Instead of focusing on other people’s lives, shift your eyes on what’s more important which is your own. Be grateful for all the good in your life. Strive to be the best version of yourself, not a premier copy of someone else’s.
- Communicate with others. Sharing your battles with others not only helps you contemplate on the problem but helps with finding the solution. Just remember that there are people –your family, friends and mentors –who are all rooting for you. Seeking out professional would also be helpful in giving you a fresh perspective and sound advice.
In the end, always remember that going through stages of doubts are perfectly normal and aren’t only restricted to a certain age or timing. Quarter-life crisis is not permanent and there are a lot of things that you can do to power you up. Turn your crisis instead into an opportunity to upgrade yourself!