You hit that mid 20’s mark and now you begin to reflect on your life thus far. Based on Erikson’s stages of Psychosocial Development, the need to reflect upon your life typically occurs at the last stage of development, in your 60’s. But this so called “Quarter Life Crisis” has recently been making its way into the lives of the 20-somethings.
So, you finally finish your practicum, you receive your grad school diploma, send in all the required BBS paperwork, and yet you find yourself jobless. You had previously quit your job to fulfill the hour requirements for your practicum internship and now that it’s done you don’t have either job. You do your best to occupy your time and look for other jobs to save money, while you wait for your intern number to process. You know that you will soon begin the career you have always dreamt of, but can’t seem to shake off the feelings of uselessness.
This is a perfect example of what is happening in my life and my current state of limbo. Not to mention I am seeking work in San Francisco to move in with my hubby. That’s another thing, my husband lives in San Francisco, and I live in San Diego… It has been this way since last September so we have grown to accept it, but can not wait to start our journey together without the distance standing in our way. We recently just got married legally, but have planned for our big wedding ceremony for December in Azerbaijan, Baku. This is a transition of its own, but I wont go into that today. We hired a photographer for the legal ceremony and I can’t stop sharing all the photos, I am obsessed. Ha!
Every time I talk about the topic of “life’s limbo,”I hear similar responses from everybody around me. Most people say things like, “I feel like I am not doing much right now,” and “I am not where I thought I would be by this age.” These are all normal responses to what society may consider, life’s transitional stage. But we ourselves refuse to believe in that maybe just maybe, we should be less harsh on ourselves and be more open to what life may have in store for us at that moment. Even though we are well aware of the fact that we are striving for something greater, we still can’t help but feel useless during this transitional period.
This “quarter life crisis” is different for everyone. However, feelings of being surrounded by a state of limbo is one thing that they all have in common. So much is changing around you and you cant help but compare your life to everyone else’s around you. You notice one friend is already set in a career, the other is having babies, your best friend got married, and your sibling recently just bought a house. The constant comparing just further makes you freak out about not having met the unrealistic expectations you set for yourself during your teen years. This last sentence just mentioned 2 ways people steer the wrong way in their thinking. One, comparing yourself, I have talked about the no-no’s about doing this in previous articles and still stand behind it firmly. Two, unrealistic expectations. Although it is great to set a high bar for yourself, it is important to make sure you can at least have control over what you expect, like school (to a degree), being a good person, volunteering, etc. And steer away from setting expectations for yourself that are far beyond your own control, like being married by 24, and having a kid at 25, and being the president of a company by 26. Although, these possibilities are not unattainable, it is wise to learn to be flexible with yourself and adjust the timing of each occurrence if necessary.
I believe that instead of freaking out and continuing to spin the wheel of limbo, it is important to just take a step back and think about what it is that you want out of life at this point in time, not what you wanted for yourself years ago. Create short term and long term goals on how you plan to achieve what you want for yourself. Think about what you truly find important to you and why. Sometimes the things we seek in life, like a high income and social status are not enough of a reason. Think about why? what can you do to get the most out of your desires? and consider the pros and cons of the measures you are willing to take to get what you want. Also, give yourself a break, especially if you are stuck in that transitional period. Whether you are going to school, working a 9-5 to save money for something greater, or paying your dues before you climb that social ladder to the top. Whatever it may be, don’t doubt yourself, with patience, dedication, hard work, and a simple laid out plan, you can achieve what you wish for!
Some good reads:
Paul Angone, 101 Secrets for your Twenties
Clayton Christensen’s, How Will You Measure Your Life?