It’s like looking at the window, seeing your friends play outside, while you just can’t get out because you’re sick. Or having a knock-off backpack when everyone else has the same branded one. Some children crave acceptance from their peers; others seek the adulation of the crowd. People feel bad when they miss out on things. Recently, the feeling of anxiety, fear and insecurity has become amplified for emerging adults, making them ask themselves, “What did I do to deserve this misfortune?” when no such rotten luck had ever happened at all.
While people aged in their 40s onwards experience mid-life crisis—a period of stagnation and reevaluation with a hint of regret—the younger generation are now experiencing what popular psychologists dub the quarter-life crisis.
Millennial State of Mind
Socioeconomic changes, societal pressures and social media have made this crisis all the more possible. Whereas people in mid-life crisis feel the regret of not doing enough for themselves, those in quarter-life crisis feel the regret of not doing anything like what their peers do. This hazy shade of FOMO (fear of missing out) stems from the envy you might feel from your friends and peers who are more successful in the world—cars, cash, careers, countries or châteaux.
This makes some people set high expectations onto themselves, blending reality with the fever dream of reaching a pinnacle moment at a relatively young age. Some people have weathered through the Great Recession while others still feel the aftershocks of the crash. Instead of simply just having fun, some people are pressured to do social-media approved activities for the sake of brownie points. Those who are ultimately driven to succeed or vie for applause are prone to the negativity quarter-life crisis brings.
It’s easy to be envious of those in your age bracket who have achieved so much in their time. You may not have sold out stadiums at 25 or have gotten your dream home at 27, but not all people live a life of luxury, go to Gatsby-like parties or live the thrill of fast cars and shooting stars. Not all people achieve things at the same time because life isn’t a race nor an Instagram story, a Facebook memory or a Twitter flex. There’s more to life than social media, and that begins in you when you realize what you need to do in this crossroads of your life.
Reaching the Impossible Deadline
Powering through your quarter-life crisis isn’t as exciting as buying a Ferrari during a mid-life crisis. It requires a lot of introspection, finding out what you want and finding a way to achieve it. There’s no need to rush to meet that impossible deadline. You need to remember that this part of your life is normal, that other people are also struggling to keep it together.
Think of the things you want to do and be thankful of the things you’ve done in your life. It’s okay if you’re still renting or paying off a FHA loan for your home. The sky may be the limit, but not everything you want in life is at reach instantly. So, don’t compare yourself to others and lower your expectations for a while for you have to work hard for everything you want to achieve. Managing your anxiety for the future is important to keep yourself in the present. Most importantly, if you feel caged by your current situation, think clearly before making a huge change in your life.
Success means being the best possible version of yourself. Use this crisis and turn it into an opportunity to improve yourself.