You’re laughing aren’t you? We aren’t. This is real. We might laugh, but then we cry because it’s so real. Grab the bottle of wine, tequila, whatever your poison might be and have a read.
Here at AJ, not only do we help you learn about the stock market and the economy but we’re also here for you emotionally, because imagine that… we care! So, we’ve decided to bring to light the concept of a quarter life crisis, and some of you may be experiencing or have recently experienced this. You’re probably thinking… what on earth does this have to do with money and finance?? Stay with us people, we promise we’re about to make a point out of it. To give you a glimpse, money is one of the biggest emotional drivers, but we’ll come back to that. (Internally screaming about money, atm)
What is a quarter life crisis? It’s a period of time somewhere in between your 20s and 30s where you start feeling some (actually maybe a lot) of doubt stemming from the stresses of adulting. Who do we speak to about quitting adulthood? Anyone? No.. alright then. Nathan Gehlert, a psychologist from Washington DC explains this type of person is usually “highly driven and smart, but struggling because they feel they’re not achieving their potential or feeling they’re falling behind”. According to this next guy named Dr Oliver Robinson from the University of Greenwich, there are four different stages of a quarter life crisis. Allow him to explain:
Stage 1: The feeling of being locked into a job, or relationship (or possibly both). You have the complete freedom to leave either your job or relationship but somehow you feel like you just ‘can’t’, somewhat feeling trapped.
Stage 2: You start to think that change is actually possible. You’ll probably have that moment when all of a sudden you say ‘enough is enough’ and this is where new possibilities and opportunities can start arising. Usually it’s a hard and difficult time that causes these turning points.
Stage 3: You start to rebuild a brand new life.
Stage 4: You’ve started to really cement your new commitments and build a new life around them, something you feel is a lot more ‘you’.
Still with us? Good. The real world can be a massive slap in the face, and you may not be ready for it when it comes, but there are ways you can combat a quarter life crisis and start preparing for this milestone (yes, we are calling it a milestone). As Winston Churchill once said ‘if you’re going through hell, keep going’. Yep, being in your 20s is hard work as you constantly are up against a million other millennials vying for jobs, creating or maintaining a solid relationship and trying to save for a home loan deposit… amongst many other things. As mentioned before, money is a massive emotional driver. When the going gets tough you simply can’t just quit your job because you can’t deal anymore… or you know, having enough in savings to just flip the desk and walk out… You still need to pay your bills, save money, eat… you know, life necessities. This is why it’s imperative that you develop your financial literacy and emotional intelligence early so you have support when you are faced with these kinds of decisions.
Alright, with all negativity aside, and a crap load of optimism, here is our 5 point guide to dealing with your quarter life crisis!
- Be Realistic
Emotions can get in the way when you least want them to and make you take rash decisions (trust us, we know). Learn to manage your emotional intelligence and the ways you react to different situations. Practice mindfulness and be present so you can take a step back in the actual moment and deal with the situation head on. Stop letting your emotions get in the way… because at the end of the day, the harsh reality is, is that no one really cares about your problems (except your friends and family… they care, but we’re not talking about them here). So, learn to deal with them the best way you can. You also need to be mindful that when you are feeling emotional you tend make impulsive monetary decisions. You may book an expensive trip overseas that you can’t quite afford, splurge on an expensive item, or go into a state where you become careless with your money and spend it on unnecessary things (we’re guilty of one or two of these). Watch out for these signs and bring yourself back to reality. Having financial troubles isn’t going to help your quarter life crisis, if anything, it will hinder it.
- It’s Totally Normal
No, you’re not the only person going through this, feel better already? It’s very easy to get in your head about everything and not see the bigger picture. We guarantee you even the most successful people in life probably went through a crisis. Here’s a bit of optimism for you… it’s just another way for you to grow into the life you were meant for. Clearly if you’re unhappy with a job or relationship, it’s not meant for you, otherwise you wouldn’t be unhappy.
- Don’t Make It All About Money
If you’re looking for another job but you know the pay is not the same as what you get now, but you still feel like you would be happier with the new opportunity, really have a good think about it and don’t dismiss the idea. You never know what will come from a new opportunity and if it feels right, then go with your gut. Once you start making it all about the money, you can lose sight of what really matters to you and what it is you’re really passionate about (we can testify to this).
- Find or Work On Your Passions
If you’re unhappy with your job or relationship, indulge yourself in other activities which ignite your soul and passions. We know we know, that sounds incredibly corny, but if you have something to look forward to after you finish work or need to distract yourself from a relationship, practicing a hobby or starting a side business is the perfect outlet. Do some freelance work, start a blog, start volunteering and engage in your community, go outside for walks to get in fresh-air and let-go of the every-day “adulting” thoughts. These activities can motivate you and realize what it is you’re really meant to be doing.
- Just Because You Have A Degree in It Doesn’t Mean It’s For You
A degree does not define who you are, so don’t let it! You may have gone to uni fresh outta high school not exactly knowing what you wanted to do but did a degree anyway. It’s STILL ok to feel like that in your mid 20’s. On average, a person will have four different careers in their lifetime, so don’t stress if you still have no idea what it is you’re doing with your life. It’s not like the olden days where it’s accustomed to work in the same role until you retire. Trust us, there will come a period in time where you’ll know exactly what it is you want to do, because it will be completely fuelled by passion and a certainty that you will succeed in this path. Life changes, and so should you… meaning that you should adapt and learn to be okay with change.
If all else fails, meditate on it… seriously. Meditation will do wonders for your soul. Breathing, releasing, relaxing… try it.
Have you guys experienced a quarter life crisis? Have any tips of your own? We want to know! (mainly for our own benefits). Leave us a comment below 🙂