It seems like these days all of my friends are simultaneously going through a quarter life crisis (give or take a few years). Finding themselves questioning what they are doing with their lives, if they even like their jobs, and should they be on another path entirely. After calming down the third friend, I realized that this wasn’t a coincidence. There’s something going on, and if you’ve found yourself questioning everything in your life lately – you’re not alone.
First things first. I think it’s important to note that these feelings are completely normal. After experiencing a worldwide pandemic, we are in an uncharted territory. Even after so much time has passed, adjusting to the reality of our “new normal” feels unbalanced and often times will leave us unfulfilled.
Here are a few things to help you navigate this spontaneous life crisis.
If you’re questioning your career
Think about this objectively. You chose your career path based on a multitude of factors that allowed you to work towards the life you want. Aside from the job itself, maybe you liked the company you worked for. Maybe you liked your coworkers, your office, or opportunities to travel.
By removing those favorable aspects of your job, all you are left with is, well, your job.
The path to a raise, promotion, or any metric of success may seem off the table for the time being and that can cause anyone to feel stagnant.
What to do if you’re questioning your career
Now is as great of a time as any to actually sit down with a pen and paper and think about what you want your life to look like 5 or 10 years from now. Where do you want to be living? What do you want your work life to look like? Do you like working from home or would you rather be in an office full time? What types of projects are you most interested in?
If the answer is different from what you are currently doing, allow yourself the space to explore what an alternative career would look like for you.
Once you’ve written out what your life looks like. Start looking up potential roles with that title. If you realize that you want to work in entertainment – start Googling roles in entertainment on Indeed and see what the job qualifications look like.
Then take those role titles and plug them into LinkedIn at a few companies that sound cool to you. Read the background of the people who currently have these jobs and write down what you can do to start making micro-movements to get the experience you need.
Quite literally – create the path.
Maybe your goal is to be an entrepreneur, so do the research, read the interviews, listen to the podcasts and learn as much as you can about what experience and skills an entrepreneur in your preferred space did to get where they are today.
The micro-movements will reposition you onto a track that you feel like is moving in the direction that you want to go in, which is ultimately the goal.
If you’re questioning your relationship
Having to see someone everyday like a live-in boyfriend can make anyone question how much they actually want to see of this person. This is a great opportunity to employee the 80/20 rule.
If you are happy 80% of the time that you are together, chances are you can probably stick it through. I did an entire post about the 80/20 rule and how it applies to relationships.
On the other hand, if you’re realizing that you aren’t as compatible as you thought and you don’t want to live with a man-child who can’t pick up his plate and plays video games all day – that’s okay too.
First establish what the issues are in your relationship and are they a result of new stress in either of your lives or is *actually* a compatability issue?
What to do if you’re questioning your relationship
Again, take to paper. I know, but writing can be therapeutic. What are the issues that are actually bothering you? Are they simple things that can be solved if you just talked about it or are these deep issues that are causing you to feel physically, emotionally, or mentally unsafe?
You may find yourself unleashing the pressure of everything else that’s going on to the nearest bystander, in this case, your partner. Under normal circumstances, you may not have to see your partner as often as you do now, but try to bring the joy back into your relationship.
Go out of your way to surprise the other person by making them a special meal, scheduling a thoughtful (& socially responsible) date night, or even writing them a cute now about how much they mean to you.
If you’re feeling it, they probably are too.
If you’re questioning your friendships
I wasn’t sure if this should have it’s own category, but ultimately decided that it should. Without the convenience of everyday life you may be seeing less of your close friends. This is an opportunity to think about how you feel when you do interact with this friend.
- Are you excited about picking up their phone call?
- Do you feel drained after a conversation with them?
- Do you find yourself getting frustrated when you do talk?
- Have either of you made an effort to schedule a catch up in the last 3 months?
What to do if you’re questioning your friendships
Finding yourself less compatible with friends is a completely normal part of life. With the added stress of being at home, you may not be able to do the fun things that you usually do with your friends like go out, run errands, go to workout classes, or have meals together.
Not every friendship is the same, so it’s important to distinguish who is actually burning out your candle and who is just a different kind of friend.
If you want more guidance on what to do if you think it’s time to breakup with a friend, read this post.
Final thoughts on how to deal with a quarter-life crisis
While I don’t recommend making any rash decisions under the distress of difficult times, now is the perfect time to truly sit back and explore. When was the last time you took a hard look at your goals and your life.
Put it this way, if you were to hire a life coach, these are the things they would want you to do. So get a head start and do the work.
Draw out what your life currently looks like and what you want it to look like. Write down bullets on what you want your life to look like in 5 and 10 years and what the path can be for you to get there.
The focus on creating a path and establishing a direction should help you feel more grounded and relieve some of your anxiety. If all else fails, eat some cake.