When you were growing up, you probably drew up your life’s road map and were determined to follow it up till you exit this world. Most of us wished to get good grades in high school which would catapult us to study a good course in campus. Then after campus, most of us wished to secure a good job that pays a six figure salary with perks and allowances to boost it and then be in a stable relationship that would lead into a conflict and stress free marriage. After marrying, most of us wish to own a home and bring up a God fearing family.
As you grew up, reality dawned on you that your dwarf intellect doesn’t have enough processor speed to allow you to score those high grades in high school that will open up the gates for you to do a dream course in campus. After campus reality still continued to intimidate you when you realize that there are no jobs in Kenya. Since you are jobless, no peer of your opposite sex wants to associate with you, so there are no signs of any relationship in the horizon. Since you are financially impotent, you are scared to the core, leaving your parent’s house.
When you look at the road map you drew while still young and the current position you are in, you are miles away from it. This reality is mind numbing for you. Stress slowly engulfs you and you decide to yield to the pressure of our unforgiving jungle where the fittest only survive. When your peers look at you, you are just a shell of your former self. Welcome to the quarter life crisis that is experienced by many teenagers who undergo initiation into adulthood.
According to the Boston Globe, The quarter life crisis is a period of life usually ranging from the late teens to the early thirties, in which a person begins to feel doubtful about their own lives, brought on by the stress of becoming an adult. Common symptoms of a quarter life crisis are often feelings of being “lost, scared, lonely or confused” about what steps to take in order to transition properly into adulthood. Studies have shown that relationships, unemployment and choosing a career path are major causes for young persons to undergo stress or anxiety. Early stages of one living on their own for the first time and learning to cope without parental help can also induce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
You can’t stop thinking about how this isn’t exactly where you pictured you’d be at 23, 25, or 30. Maybe you don’t have a significant other. Maybe you’re not exactly in your dream job. Sure, you were never meant to have a leafy suburb neighborhood, but you thought you’d at least have some of your acts together by now. Instead, you have brightermonday.com bookmarked on your browser and you are a regular reader of the “soul mates” section in the Saturday magazine of the Saturday Nation.
When in such a situation, remember that life isn’t a race. Few of the decisions you make at 26 will make or break your entire life. Try not to feel pigeonholed into keeping a career you hate or a relationship that’s gone stale because you’re “already on this path” and you feel like breaking up or quitting will “set you behind” on the track. Life’s too short to toil away at something that isn’t making you happy in the long term; decide what’s worth giving up.
Adulthood means finding your identity. In high school or campus, your identity was mostly drawn up for you by the grades you got, the course you did and your extracurricular activities. But after graduating and finding yourself in the real jungle where you are the lowest in the “food chain”, your identity is a blank book waiting for you to fill it up. Your career, relationships, beliefs and what you stand for will fill up the book. You might end up with scribbled-out pages and plots that go woefully unresolved, but at some point in your life, you are going to have to confront yourself and ask “whom am I?” Don’t let the quarter life crisis define you but rather be the one to define it.