Are you insecure, the future scares you? This is quarter-life crisis!
Quarter-life crisis, as a new phenomenon
At the beginning of adulthood, many people in their twenties question themselves, their previous decisions and their lives. If you’re one of them, you should know that you’re not alone. This is the quarter-life crisis, a quite recent phenomenon. But why has it appeared right now, and concerns more and more people?
According to Gábor Kuna Várhelyi, psychologist, the explanation is the fact that we have more and more freedom: we have several possibilities, we can decide independently about our career, we can travel and move wherever we want, etc.
But what’s the problem with this? It’s great that we can make our own decisions, but the more possibilities we have, the scarier it becomes, since we can question ourselves each time, and we might think over and over ‘what would have happened, if…’. In addition, the world around us is changing faster and faster, and sometimes it gets hard to catch up and adapt to the new expectations. That’s why we often have the feeling of being lost and not being good enough.
The quarter-life crisis can be divided into four separate phases. Now, we are going to examine these, and see how our personality develops during this so-called crisis.
Something is wrong
The first period is characterized by dissatisfaction. At this time, we don’t necessarily want to – or we can’t – change the reason of our dissatisfaction, whether it’s our career, a relationship, a friendship, or our family, but we have more and more questions and doubts. We often feel that we are just drifting with the tide, we are exhausted of everyday life, and we lose our enthusiasm and our motivation. The solution isn’t always a radical change in our life; another possibility might be to reduce the tension by confirming our previous decisions, and realizing that we are on the right track to reach our goals.
If it’s not the case, we get into the second phase: we become conscious of the fact, that we want to change something. This is characterized by an increasing level of stress, fear and even anxiety, which is natural, since we are about to give up the safety, and take on the unknown. At this point, many youngsters ask for some time, and escape from their life with a change of environment for a short time, so they don’t have to make the decisions immediately. This break might be a change of domicile, a few-month long trip, a scholarship abroad, or on the contrary, the interruption of their studies.
The beginning of a new life
This is followed by the third period: the conscious and concrete action, the change. This is the most insecure period, since we are between two conditions, two ‘lives’: we have stepped out of the old one, but we haven’t arrived into the new one yet. Our feelings are quite ambiguous; we feel frightened, but calm and relieved at the same time, since we had the courage to change our situation, and now, we are on the right track.
Finally – in case we have accomplished to overcome the difficulties of the three previous periods –, comes the fourth and final one, the reconstruction of our personality. New relationships, new hobbies, new goals, new habits. During this whole process, we can improve our self-knowledge, therefore, we can manage our life more consciously. Our feelings and acts are getting in harmony, we gain back our motivation and our vocation.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that from now on, we are always going to be determined without any questions, and we are never going to be insecure again. On the contrary, it’s natural, and even useful to slow down from time to time, to have doubts and to reconsider our decisions, because these periods can help us to progress. All in all, some crisis, or panic situations might be useful sometimes, so we can reconsider, if we follow our own path, and we won’t get lost in the expectations and duties set by our environment.