Everyone has heard the term “mid life crisis”. However, over the last few years, researchers have identified that people in their 20’s/early 30’s can experience a quarter life crisis. It is such a pivotal time period for your identity development. There are a million changes that occur during that time period that set the tone for the rest of your life. It may be difficult when you’re experiencing it to know that it’s a normal stage of life.
This is a really common feeling and social media has definitely contributed to it. Seeing people in your age group landing their dream job, getting married, having kids, buying a house, or traveling the world can make you feel like you’re trailing behind them. It can be a bummer to see a former classmate buying an amazing house in South Charlotte while you’re still renting a small apartment. It can increase feelings of anxiety or depression as you compare yourself to the lives and accomplishments of others. Everyone is on a different timeline. But even if you know that rationally, it’s sometimes still difficult to get it emotionally.
Most people tend to post the pictures of videos of them in their best moments. For instance, when they’re dressed up, at concerts, partying, on a date, while on an amazing vacation. If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, etc, it can be really difficult to watch everyone else in your life seem so happy and fulfilled.
The 20’s/early 30’s are such a transitionary time. You’re learning how to be an adult. You’re forming your identity and you sometimes feel like you have NO ideas what you’re doing. You spend a lot of time worrying about what you’re doing, where you’ll end up, and if you’re going to be something.
You second guess every major thing in your life. Is your relationship going to last or are you spending time with the wrong person? Is this a dead end job or will it make your career? Are you spending your money wisely or will you be broke by next check? You overthink every decision and constantly evaluate your life decisions and it can feel like each one is monumental.
With all the major decisions for your life you have to make in this time period, there is sometimes a huge fear about making the wrong decision. You may feel so paralyzed with fear about committing to something that you either stay in a situation you aren’t happy with because you’re too scared to change or you jump too quickly into the next thing out of panic of being stuck.
There are so many things happening at the same time. It is normal in a quarter life crisis to have a lot of insecurities. You may have always had anxiety and find it increasing during this time period. Or you may have never had anxiety and find it developing with all these major changes.
As an online anxiety therapist in North Carolina, I have worked with many people who have experienced these symptoms. Take deep breathes multiple times throughout the day. We often forget how much stress can negatively impact our basic bodily functions. Take a break from social media. Understand that everyone moves at a different pace and do your best to not compare yourself to others. There may be someone who looks at your accomplishments and wishes they were you. Being true to yourself is much more important longer term than living up to invisible standards you’re holding yourself or others to.
Set concrete/achievable goals in different areas of your life (money, work, relationships, etc) and take action to move towards those goals. Be intentional in your decisions. Surround yourself with healthy people and set boundaries to protect yourself in every major area of your life. Go to therapy to work on the anxiety or depression that can be prominent during this stage of life.