Is it a Quarter-Life Crisis?

How have you been feeling lately?  Overwhelmed?  Overworked?  Lost?  Maybe you haven't been feeling those things, but for some reason you haven't felt...happy.  

Welcome to your 20's.  You're in for a decade of tough and potentially life-changing decisions.  You need to choose a city to live in, what jobs to apply for, what apartment to live in, who to live in it with, who to spend your time with, who to be in a relationship with, do you even want to be in a relationship?  At the end of the day it can all feel daunting.

Why is the quarter-life crisis a fairly new phenomenon, and what do you need to know about it?  The quarter-life crisis is very similar to it's better known cousin, the midlife crisis. Both crises are centered around feeling dissatisfied with the current state of being, but not feeling like you have the knowledge or ability to change it.  While past generations were more prone to having this feeling in their forties or fifties, millenials are experiencing it closer to age 25.  Why?  For one, millenials are facing more competition for jobs and apartments than any past generations.  This means we are holding ourselves to higher standards in the interest of getting what we want.  A survey run by Gumtree.com found that:

  • 86% of the 1,100 young people questioned admitted feeling under pressure to succeed in their relationships, finances and jobs before hitting 30.
  • 2 in 5 had money worries saying they did not earn enough.
  • 32% felt under pressure to marry and have children by the age of 30
  • 21% wanted a complete career change

I found these results pretty staggering. 86% feeling pressure to succeed?  That's a huge number of young people under stress.  

But before you get depressed, decide to move to a small town in Nebraska and vow to turn off social media forever to avoid the supposed successes of your peers, there is hope.  The thing about having a quarter-life crisis is that it means you are ready for a change.  Navigating that transition can be tricky, so it may be a good idea to reach out for help.  Whether help involves seeing a therapist to help eradicate internalized pressure, or seeing a career counselor to help you find a more satisfying job, or even just finding the courage to make a change, it's out there.  

And the new term being coined?  The "quarter-life breakthrough" (check out Adam Smiley Poswolsky's book of the same name).  Because although things may seem hard right now, you csn indeed breakthrough.  And if you need a little help in the process, know it's out there.    

 

New Year, Know You: Therapy Can Help Those Pesky New Year's Resolutions Come True

It's that time of year.  The time to convince yourself that this year will be different.  That you will make it to the gym three times a week, and get that promotion you're after, and miraculously have time to date until you find that perfect person.  Yes, this year, things are going to change.  However, the thing that hasn't changed is you.  

What stopped you from going to that yoga class you always talk about?  What kept you from signing up for Match.com even though all of your friends encouraged you to?  Why didn't you approach your boss with the proposition you wrote ages ago, pointing out the major reasons you deserve a new position? The answer to all of these questions, is you.  Now here's where you may disagree with me.  There might be a million reasons why it's hard to read more or spend more time with your friends.  But those reasons aren't going to go away.  If you really want this year to be different, my recommendation is to get to know yourself better.  

How will getting to know yourself better help you get to the gym?  Find a romantic partner?  Make time for your loved ones?  With our fast-paced lives, we have gotten incredibly  good at ignoring our feelings.  It's how we stay focused on the tasks at hand.  However, we have gotten so good at pushing our feelings to the side, that we aren't even aware we are doing it.  Why is this a bad thing?  Because feelings are our guide to what we want and don't want.  We get angry when someone mistreats us, so we stand up for ourselves to prevent it from happening again.  We get sad after a breakup, which tells us that we still desire intimacy and closeness.  We feel happiness and love when we spend time with someone we care about, which lets us know we would like more time with them.  But when anger gets confused with guilt, sadness gets confused with shame,  and feelings of happiness and love trigger anxiety and fear of losing someone, our compass is no longer pointing North.

Perhaps you haven't talked to your boss because there's a small voice in the back of your mind telling you that you don't really deserve a raise.  Maybe you're noticing a pattern arise in your dating history, but you can't quite make sense of it.  And maybe you don't want to go the gym because it's boring and you would rather join a dodgeball league.  Who knows?  But a therapist can help you make sense of the things going on in your life, and help you get that compass pointing North again.  Keeping your New Year's Resolutions might only be a small part of what you achieve from therapy.