4 Tips for Dealing With a Quarterlife Crisis

Last Updated Sep 13, 2010 8:38 AM EDT

Everyone knows about the midlife crisis with its stereotypical divorces and embarrassing, inappropriate sports cars, but if personal experience is anything to go on, the less discussed quarterlife crisis is just as common - if generally less severe.

You've finished school, embarked on your first job and now you think, is this it? Adulthood has lost a bit of its sheen and you're unsure how to proceed with all the freedom and options before you. So how can you combat the 20-something blahs? Wise Bread recently offered four tips:

  • Know that you are not alone! Though it may seem so, be assured that you are not alone. There are hundreds or even thousands of fellow 20-somethings out there who have no idea what to do with their lives. Though all your friends may be settling down, buying houses, and getting married, don't be afraid that you'll be left behind if you don't jump onto their boat. Everyone is different and life is not a race. It's the journey that matters. You need to ensure that yours encompasses what your heart really desires. Don't live in fear.
  • Discover yourself. Whether this involves going on a short vacation or taking extended time off to travel the world or volunteer -- do it! It will help you spend some time alone and give you an opportunity to know yourself better. Don't take the world's criticism to heart; you are not wasting time or being irresponsible. To be truly happy, you need to be at peace with yourself. Doing a nine-to-five job that you already hate will only cause additional distress, lack of motivation, and ultimately depress you.
  • Try something new. You'll never know what you like if you don't venture out of your bubble and expose yourself to the world. Try different things and keep an eye on yourself. What did you enjoy? Was there something you were skeptical about or something that made you nervous? What made your eyes sparkle or what makes you look back and smile?
  • Don't jump into changing careers just yet. Sometimes, there is a tendency to hop back into school to get a different career. Maybe this one you will love. Maybe this education will not disappoint you. Try to see the vicious circle you may be repeating. Every 20-something longs for their college days. The carefree life, the fearless attitude, and being with friends again can be quiet alluring. Ensure that you are going back to school for the right reasons. I personally believe that after obtaining a degree from college, changing careers may be easier than one thinks. Though additional education will be required for specialized fields, you may be able to get some experience in the new career as an intern or a volunteer with your current qualifications, giving you an opportunity to see how it is before you make a commitment.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr user bark, CC 2.0)
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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.