what to do with a quarter-life crisis
Life & Relationships

What to do when you’re having a quarter-life crisis

You’re now in your mid-20s, living your normal life, earning from a job you may or may not totally like. Then all of sudden, people your age are starting to get married, excel in their carrier, and buy cars or houses of their own. And there you are, trying your best to avoid insecurity but, deep down, you are subtly downgrading and comparing your life with theirs. Welcome to the quarter-life crisis.

In a survey commissioned by the professional network, Linkedin, at least 87% of 25 to 33 years old Filipinos are experiencing a quarter-life crisis. It is a stage when someone is starting to question their capabilities, success, and life in general which often leads to anxiety or depression.

Common signs of a quarter-life crisis

  • You are frustrated to know your purpose in life
  • You are feeling behind compared to the people you know
  • You are feeling stuck or trapped in life
  • You feel like you are getting old but not growing
  • You are doubting whether you are actually skilled
  • You feel like you are not earning enough

With the current situation and fast-paced turn of events, I would say even ages below 25 are already going through this phase. Landing a great job, having a long-term relationship, being able to support the family, or putting up a business — these are only some of the worries that go around the head of a 23-year old like me. And recently, a friend opened up to me, saying she feels as though everything around her happens so quickly as her friends are starting to get married. So do I. Many of my acquaintances have had their babies, getting engaged and whatnot.

quarter-life crisis
Photo by alexandra lammerink on Unsplash

While avoiding a quarter-life crisis is easier said than done, I believe there are other things you can do to eventually change your outlook and transform the doubts into encouragement.

Related: Things I Realized at Age 23

Accept that every person has a different pace

Just because people your age seem to be getting their lives together, it does not mean you are losing in life. The thing is, other people’s milestones should not devalue all the efforts you have done. You are doing okay. We have different rhythms and what works for them may not work for you or vice versa.

When you accept that you’re not supposed to run according to other people’s speed, you will have better chances to get your own life together, slowly but surely. Walk at your own pace and celebrate even your smallest wins!

Focus on your own life

I would say social media contributes a lot to this crisis. It is a platform where people post their successes and milestones, a facade of what life really is. And when you consume a lot of it, chances are you will end up thinking a lot about how come these people are living life easier while you are feeling stuck.

Insecurity usually triggers a quarter-life crisis. When you always look at what other people have been doing more than yourself, you will start comparing your accomplishments. This is why I recommend trying your best to focus on yourself. Put all the attention in improving a certain aspect of life that you wish to achieve. Because when you do, you will eventually learn about yourself and you will feel a lot more confident in your decisions.

Appreciate the now

If there is one thing I learn about this, it is to appreciate the present. Not everyone was not able to reach the age that you are now, and I think that’s something to be thankful for. Also, have you ever thought about how far you have come? Look back and see. Are you the same person? Are you proud of the baby steps you have taken? Because you should, and that’s when you will escape from the prison of your self-doubts.

To end this post, I know it is easier to say “stop comparing and smash your goals” because, in reality, we have our own struggles. But, dear, you’re still young—we are still young. We have plenty of time to evaluate what we really want in life. You do you and take your time.

Have you gone through a quarter-life crisis? Share your experience in the comments!

30 Comments

  • Simone Says GO!

    Social media absolutely is at the root, agreed. For content creators, it’s impossible to avoid – we need it to promote. Plus, the engagement it nice, of course. But it’s so noisy & easy to eventually blur the lines btw engagement & comparison. I’ve found that practicing daily mindfulness & gratitude for personal blessings helps in this regard.

    • The Queensights

      This is why I don’t scroll much on Instagram because most of the photos there are sexy bodies, travels, food, and all the luxuries in life. There were times it really triggered my insecurity so I had to take a break from it. Thanks for reading!

  • Shirsha

    Now that I am in my 30s, I’ve come to realise that having a purpose in life, an identified value system, will go a long way in getting you back on track when you feel like you’re going through an uncertain phase. I am learning to do this for myself right now, and I only wish I has started earlier!

  • A Dreamer

    Really enjoyed reading this. Life is such a mix of highs and lows isn’t. A crisis in every decade I suspect. Great to have strategies to help us through.

  • Michelle

    I’ve been there too. I felt like I was falling behind, but actually I’m just moving at my own pace. Once I realised that my life doesn’t have to fit into the ‘cookie cutter’ mold of a great life, I started enjoying my life more.

    Sending you good vibes all the way from South Africa. Michelle (michellesclutterbox.com)

  • clairelomax2018

    I think I spent most of my 20’s in this state. I am kinda glad though that Facebook was only really around in the later stages of my 20’s (Yes I am that old!!) or I think the feelings of despair, being left behind and comparison would be even worse!

  • Baby Boomer Super Saver

    Comparison is the thief of joy. It’s great that you highlighted how easy it is to make comparisons, especially with social media. Your suggestions for avoiding comparison and coping with anxiety are spot on.

  • Hayley

    I’d say that my “quarter life crisis” started at around 18/19 and never really ended if I’m honest! Definitely agree that social media makes it almost impossible not to compare your life to other people’s but it’s so freeing to stop yourself when you start feeling down about it and remind yourself that your journey is different so what you’ve said is spot on really! 😊

  • Brooke

    You are spot on with this post. I think we put way too much pressure on ourselves because we focus so much on what others are doing. Plus, social media only shows the best of everyone’s lives and we think their lives are perfect all the time.

  • Lauren

    Accepting that everyone has their own pace is so important, I just turned 29 and the thought of approaching 30 has been on my mind a lot recently. I think it’s O.K. to realise that not everyone achieves the same things at the same time and that’s perfectly normal.

  • Aphila

    I’m a 28 year old now and this is exactly me in life but I feel like I’m trying my best to uplift the me one step at a time than before. This was wonderful to read thank you for sharing the addressing the elephant in the room for most of us.

  • SHRUTI DUBEY

    Oh yes. I can absolutely feel whatever you said. We do start to compare our lives to others. And yes, I used to spend a lot of time scrolling on Instagram just becoming more sad and sad while seeing other people lives. Now, I have limited my use of social media and I am noticing slight changes in my mood and that’s for the better.

  • Amber Page

    This is such a great post for those who need it! Thank you for sharing I feel like I got a lot out of it!

    Amber – The Unpredicted Page

  • Cue Adulthood

    I’m 21, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve already entered a quarter-life crisis. The pressure to get a job and do something with my life after graduation is quite stressful, and it’s hard not to compare yourself others. I like how you mentioned to appreciate the present because we could easily get caught up with our lives. Nice post! 🙂

  • Ming Qian

    I did not know that there was a term for it, but quarter life crisis does sound about right. The pressure to settle down and to know where you want to be in ten years time. I’m 22 this year, and I am still in college, but I am beginning to feel the pressure to get my sh*t together with each passing semester.

    I love this line, “other people’s milestones should not devalue all the efforts you have done” in your blog post. That’s true, and it is something I learned over the years too. I try to compare only with who I was rather than to compare with the people around me.

    Thanks for sharing these tips and your take on the matter. Have a great weekend!

  • Roni

    I really appreciate this post. I remember telling my friends a few years back that I felt like I was having a quarter life crisis and they looked at me like I was crazy – I feel like this term definitely needs to be more normalised x

    Roni | myelevatedexistence.com

  • Markus + Micah

    Honoring your own pace and focusing on your own growth is so important, very well done on pointing this out. There is really no point in chasing the progress chart laid out by society – we have done it early in our life and ended up empty and frustrated. It is far better to figure out what gives you meaning and do more of that than just do things that everyone seems to be doing, no?

  • Deasy B

    Oh, I’m a few months from reaching my 30th birthday, and I can for sure say that I had a quarter-life crisis around my 25th birthday. And for all the reasons you listed. In hindsight, it’s a normal phase that many people go through. The most important thing to realize is that everyone has their own path, and what’s meant for you will be yours when the time is right. It took me awhile to realize that, and I still need to remind myself time and again.

    http://bloomingsuitcase.com

  • T. B. C...

    Is our true purpose in life to get married, be in a long term relationship/marriage, buy a huge house, have children and then work to the bone to provide for them??? Being a woman the pressure is slightly more because of wanting children. We are much older than yourself and its terribly sad to hear that such crisis exist for people of your age. You are right – everyone walks a different path and pace and we much always do what is right for us. There is no formula to live your life by. I also think that if we weren’t so motivated by the big jobs, the cars, the houses, the 2pt 4 children – we might actually be better human beings who take care of each other, the environment and understand that perhaps our purpose is to creative an environment of love and harmony for all.

    Thanks for your post. Keep doing what you love and follow your impulses through life. Live your life, not dictated by what society tells you. xx

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