"The feeling of growing up and taking on responsibilities completely freaks me out"
The quarter life crisis is a phenomenon that is growing, in both how it is affecting young adults and general awareness.
The days where the mid-life crisis took centre stage are now over. More and more young adults are feeling massive amounts of insecurity in their daily life.
This usually happens when they enter the ‘real world’, after finishing school or graduating.
These anxieties are usually about finding a secure job that will generate a stable income.
In the case of British Asians, the pressure can be even higher. As a lot of them also have their parents on their backs.
Hoping that they pursue money making careers like being a doctor or a lawyer.
As a result, those who pursue other paths are considered unsuccessful and not good enough.
There are also pressures about unemployment as the number of jobs available for fresh graduates is low. Many budding young adults achieve all their qualifications but are only able to find retail jobs.
This leads to a lot of low points and depression amongst young adults.
What is the Quarter Life Crisis?
Author of Get it together: A Guide to Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis, Damian Barr says:
“Plenty of people are going to say the quarter life crisis doesn’t exist.
“The truth is that our 20s are not, as they were for our parents, 10 years of tie-dye fun and quality ‘me’ time.
“Being twentysomething now is scary – fighting millions of other graduates for your first job, struggling to raise a mortgage deposit and finding time to juggle all your relationships.”
Shalini Banerjee writes in Youthkiawaaz:
“Many, like me, probably are in their first jobs right now, having completed education. We don’t have enough experience to go on to a better (dream) job but I am sure most of us are trying to adjust to the corporate life our jobs have thrown at us.
“Suddenly ‘colleagues’ surround us. Sometimes the mentality matches and sometimes the flow of conversation just washes over me. I am dying to fit in.”
She continues: “The feeling of growing up and taking on responsibilities completely freaks me out.”
The British Asian Angle
Although many other millennials face pressures to be in a stable relationship, it’s safe to say British Asians have added cultural expectations to handle.
There’s an extreme amount of pressure on them to get married and have children. Especially for women, as the older they get, the more people will remind them that their biological clock is ticking.
Men may have until their early thirties until this pressure really kicks in, but it’s still there. And they’re also told they need to be able to support their family when they do get married. 25-year-old Jas says:
“My newsfeed is full of wedding pictures shared by my friends. My family has just begun to doubt my whole “career-comes-first” attitude. The mere prospect of meeting my relatives makes me want to go underground.
“I am at that age where the mere sight of my alarm clocks sets my teeth grinding and the mere sight of my bed makes me weep with relief.”
Psychologist Dr Oliver Robinson conducted a study about the quarter life crisis.
He found that 86 percent of the 1,100 young adults questions felt pressure to attain success in their finances, jobs and relationships before they were 30.
Two in five worried about money, believing they didn’t earn enough. 32 percent felt the pressure to be married and have children by the time they were 30.
How to Break Free from a Quarter Life Crisis
Despite the anxieties of many millennials, not all of the findings by Dr Robinson were bad.
In fact, he also found that the quarter life crisis could help young people. This was explained through the five phases of the quarter life crisis.
Initially, an individual will feel trapped by their job and/or relationship. This can be described as ‘autopilot mode’.
The second phase is the realisation that they need to change their lifestyle and break any bad habits.
Phase three sees them finally break free. Either by quitting their job or ending their relationship. This detaching of oneself allows an individual to rediscover who they are and what they really want.
Phase four sees the rebuilding process begin, and finally, in phase five, an individual will find and develop new commitments that are ‘more in line with their interests and aspirations’.
Robinson said: “The results will help reassure those who are experiencing this transition that it is a commonly experienced part of early adult life and that a proven pattern of positive change results from it.”
So despite the fact that there is this limbo that loads of young adults are now fearing, don’t worry. Firstly, it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious about your place in the world.
There many others who are definitely feeling the same way and are having their own quarter life crisis.
Once you have accepted that you are not alone you can take other steps to get through this.
The Path to Success
Work on improving yourself and take yourself out of your comfort zone. This will help you feel more confident and gain more skills to adapt to the instability many others face once they’ve left school.
Make the most of every opportunity that you have, and also do many different things on the side. Author of the office advice blog, Ms.Career Girl, Nicole Crimaldi says:
“I used to religiously (for a couple years straight) wake up at 5 AM to write or promote the blog—I had a reason to get up in the morning”.
Try “volunteering, starting a blog, or maybe even a little side business where you sell something.”
Never compare yourself to other people, even though there are times when it looks like everyone around you is succeeding.
It is important to understand that everyone has their own path. So stay away from their Facebook and Instagram pages.
Stay motivated and work on your own self-improvement!