Quarter Life Crisis! – A Malady Striking the Millennials

Often, the early 20s are thought to be the years of one’s life where happiness comes easy and the only major stress you have is that of your exams & assignments. That was Generation X. The popular Millennial psychology  is all about starting early and working hard right through the 20s and 30s. This implies, careers and relationships will start sooner and retirements will come earlier. But this also means youngsters will be under immense pressure to succeed than their peers and in the process may have to deal with what can be called a “Quarter-life crisis” or a QLC.

The late German psychologist Erik Erikson, who proposed eight crises that humans face during their development, originally proposed the existence of a life crisis occurring at this age. Today, the modern definition of QLC according to popular culture states that

quarter-life crisis as a crisis "involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one's life" which is most commonly experienced in a period ranging from a person's late teens to their mid-thirties. It is a period of insecurity, doubt, and disappointment surrounding your career, relationships, and financial situation". In short, the emotions that you experience in your mid 40’s can now be experienced in your early 20’s. 

According to Dr. Oliver Robinson, a lead researcher on this topic, the average quarter-life crisis lasts about two years and can actually be a really positive experience. He identifies 4 distinct phases of said crisis. 

PHASE 1: You feel completely trapped in a relationship, your job, or have a general low feeling about life.

PHASE 2: A few good days where you feel elated are enough for you to strengthen the idea in your head that you can escape this trap of boredom for a perpetually happy life.

PHASE 3: You make proactive changes to create the life that you want 

PHASE 4:  You invest more time and energy on the (exciting) stuff you like while acknowledging that you still have to accept and embrace the simplicity, redundancy & negativity of life. 

Although a painful process, people can go through this several times in their twenties to put their lives on a path that will ultimately make them happier. HNI India, one of country’s leading office furniture manufacturer is an advocate of happiness at workplace. Here is what we think could bring back the joy in your life if you too are suffering from a quarter-life crisis. Let us begin by checking if you qualify for a QLC.

Possible Signs you are suffering from a QLC

    • Whether it’s the field you chose, the relationship you’re in, or the recent office table and chair set that you bought online, you find yourself frequently questioning the accuracy of your decisions.
    • The weekly monotony of doing the same things over and over again every day, bogs you down.  
    • You get anxious looking at the lives of your friends and colleagues and constantly compare yourself to theirs wondering whether you’ll ever reach there. 
    • As soon as you wake up, you check all of your social media profiles, see how many people liked your posts only to check again five minutes later and again 200 times(exaggeration, don’t take the number literally) throughout the day.  
    • Sometimes you think of quitting the job to travel the world, then again you are driven to climb up the career ladder, and yet other times you think “Am I doing what I really like?”

    Such behaviors may be common in your forties but may account for QLC if you are experiencing them in your twenties. 

    Here are some ways that can help overcome a Quarter-life crisis

        • Stop constant comparisons - Stop, breathe and focus on your own successes rather than seeing everyone else as more successful than you. You are already successful than most others.
        • Make time for real friends - Talking your heart out is nothing less than therapy. Talking with people face to face will also make you realize that they are just as vulnerable and imperfect as you are - and their life is not as interesting as they make you believe on social media. 
        • Figure out your values - Find out what it is that defines you and makes you satisfied in life - work on those values instead of running behind the unending superficial aspects of life. 
        • Make Short-term goals - Instead of pursuing a long-term goal, set short-term goals which will ultimately help you reach your final one. Setting realistic and achievable goals will give you the confidence to reach larger goals.

    At the end of it, let us not undermine the importance of healthy levels of stress to drive you toward your goals, the idea is to not let stress turn into a chronic disorder and create an imbalance in your harmonious life. We at HNI India believe in creating happy workplaces by creating furniture solutions that are thoughtful, ergonomic, and comfortable.

    We believe that happiness is a product of various little things in life, and it can be as simple as a good chair to sit on! Visit HNI India, today.