Toni: 5 ways to survive your quarter life crisis

Toni is a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) graduate with no idea what she wants to do when she grows up. She is currently working towards combining her two loves human behaviour and marketing.


I didn’t see it coming and it hit me when I least expected. Recently graduated, full-time job, jam-packed social calendar and opportunities around every corner. How did I go from all this to wondering where it had all gone so wrong?

I did the obvious, and Googled my symptoms. As it turns out, I wasn’t alone. Plenty of people show signs of a quarter-life crisis. If you are anything like me, you have started to realise that your reality is not quite meeting your expectations, you are constantly comparing yourself to those around you and you completely overanalyse all the decisions you have made leading up to this point.

I am right in the middle of my very own quarter-life crisis, so while I can’t offer a quick fix, I can let you in on a few things that have helped me to curb the over-analysis and keep moving forward.

1. Talk about it

Yes, actually admit that you are not feeling that great. As it turned out, the first person I told had similar feelings, and it was comforting to know I was not alone. Just saying things out loud can do wonders, and you never know what great advice you might get along the way.

2. Take some time out

If you are like me, you will have been running full-speed towards the finish line (even if you are not exactly sure where it is). Stop and take a breath; it turns out that life is not a race. Spend a day doing something just for you; read a book, take a walk or spend the afternoon in front of the TV, binging on your favourite box set. Chances are, you are due for a little bit of ‘me time’, and there is no time like the present!

3. Reassess your expectations

Becoming the CMO of Google right after graduating from my psychology degree was probably never going to happen… I know, I was shocked too! As part of Gen Y, we have grown up being told ‘you can become anything you want to be’. Sometimes this isn’t the case and reassessing your expectations can be a humbling but necessary process. In the chaos of life, we rarely take a moment to step back, take note of our goals and how far we have moved towards achieving them. Think about where you expected to be at this point in your life. Was your expectation realistic? I know mine wasn’t! Your dreams are really important, but so are all the milestones along the way. Take your time… life is not a race for first place.

4. A change of perspective can do wonders

‘Sometimes you just need to look at things from a different point of view’. Someone said this to me recently and they were right. Take a step back and look at how far you have come. When you break it down, chances are what you have achieved so far is pretty impressive, and with opportunities around every corner, things can only get better. Give yourself a pat on the back for going to uni and achieving that degree! It is also important to remember that we all have blind spots when it comes to how we see ourselves. Take some time out to chat with a close friend or colleague about how they see you. The outcome might be a pleasant surprise!

5. Ride it out

You are probably feeling like you are on a crazy rollercoaster ride, one you may want to get off sooner rather than later. Unlike the rollercoasters at the theme park, you are in control of this ride, and you can make changes right now to make the most of it. Take up some further study, learn a new skill or take a break and travel. Whatever happens, things will get better and remember, the magic always happens outside our comfort zones.

These 5 things have been so important in helping me learn to enjoy the rollercoaster that is my quarter-life crisis and I hope they help you make some headway too. I have been in the midst of my quarter-life crisis for a little over 6 months now, and things are slowly getting better. If I have learned one thing through the whole process, it is that things don’t change on their own, you need to do some of the leg work.

Are you thinking, ‘this is totally me!’? If so, take some time to set some goals and then learn the secret to staying motivated.


Related:

Sam: Why I refuse to have a mid-life crisis at 34

Amanda: From uni to CEO: the true story

John Minz: Your journey to greatness