As our third year at university came to a close, one of my best friends and I had been talking a lot about our supposed “quarter-life crisis”. What’s a “quarter-life crisis” you ask? Sort of like a mid-life crisis where you question your identity and your place in life, but I guess with different values and concerns. We talked about people, jobs, our love life, travel, moving places, after graduation, graduate degrees, friends, family, and seriously… the list goes on.
I believe that these “quarter-life” crises are a lot more common nowadays because we’ve become unconventional. We tend to hardly follow the carefully crafted timestamps where we’re supposed to have done something – get married, settle down and purchase a house, have children, retire – that’s just not something we really focus on. Of course, this doesn’t apply to everybody, but the percentage of people in their early twenties who do follow this pattern in life are significantly lower than our older counterparts.
I thought I’d be interesting to share some of my insights after so much thought and discussion on the quarter-life crisis topic. After all, I know for a fact that my friends and I aren’t the only ones going through it.
1. WHAT AM I PASSIONATE ABOUT?
As I’ve mentioned in (a) previous post(s), finding my true calling and what hobbies and interests I wanted to make my “work” took me a long time – partially because I have a severely broad range of interests, and also because I often questioned if I wanted to create “work” out of them. Realizing what you’re actually vehement about takes time, as you may realize over the years that you’re not interested in something anymore, or that you see it as simply something fun to do to pass the time. This takes a bit of soul searching if I must say so myself: it requires some active experimentation with what works for you and what doesn’t.
Thoughts like these are the worst for non-planners like me. Meanwhile, my friend is the opposite – she thrives off security and a set schedule, and likes to plan ahead. Essentially we have the following in common though: it’s still something we both have to think about in the end. It’s crazy how much change comes with time – the contrast between what I wanted in my second last year of high school, to my last year of high school, to my first and second years of university, to now, is the equivalent of doing a full blown construction job on a district of buildings. I feel like what I took from our conversation is that there are way too many options for post-graduation – travel (in essence, blow all your money), work, graduate programs, or something else. In order to really narrow it down, it all goes back to number 1 – “What am I passionate about?”
3. FINDING JOBS
I’ve followed this piece of advice from experience and because of countless people telling me this: don’t do something just because it looks good on your resume. Being bored out of your mind, not learning anything, and not taking anything at all away from the internship or job you signed up for ≠ any significance to you or your resume. It’s the difference between being able to naturally identify the skills you’ve developed with your position and being able to boast about it to a future employer, and rambling on about nonsense in an attempt to sound good. Now sometimes you can get away with this – but are you more interested in actually being a solid candidate, or being a superficial one?
4. YOUR NEEDS VS. YOUR FAMILY’S
Now I believe my situation with my needs vs. my family’s is a lucky one. Over the years I have built up a reputation with my parents where they now know that I have extremely strong opinions and strong beliefs about what I want for myself and the values I place on certain things. I know that some have a different relationship with their parents in the sense where they feel as though they must compromise, or that they highly take their parents desires for them into consideration. Although the former and the latter are both positive – you either do want to consider your parents wants and needs for you, or you have built up a common agreement between yourselves that your plans trump theirs, the one where you feel like you must compromise isn’t. At this point it isn’t just about your family, it’s about feeling the need to compromise with anything that you don’t feel is right for you. At this point you are really removing the desire for what you truly want, and are allowing outside influences to intervene and prevent you from giving your 100%.
5. WHERE DO I WANT TO LIVE?
When I had placed getting into the fitness industry as a top priority (it’s still one of my priorities), I began thinking I’d want to live in places which I liked and had a booming market for fitness and health such as California or Toronto. I feel as though doing some solid research on where your industry is especially prominent may work as a good and smart starting point. Ultimately it’s about what you can afford, the lifestyle you’re really looking to have, and what sort of people you want to surround yourself with.