Quarter life crisis. Does it exist? What does it mean? What becomes of a person going through a quarter life crisis? There are too many questions and often finding answers can only bring about more confusion to a person going through such an experience. However, it is normal. Not everyone goes through a quarter life crisis. But those who do, find this time in their lives to be difficult, painful, lonely and tiring for no reason.
What are the signs?
The days seem long. You’re often too lazy to wake up. There’s nothing to keep you motivated so it’s easy to want to sink back into bed. This is one sign of going through a rough time in your life. It’s easy to pretend like nothing is wrong when you’re under warm sheets, all cuddled up in bed with about four pillows. You can wallow in this for a while but when it becomes almost a routine, you need to do something about it.
You might also experience a loss or increase in appetite and therefore lose or gain a lot of weight in a short period of time. This might happen almost unconsciously. You sit down to have a meal and do not realise the loss of appetite or the alarming amount of food you’ve served onto your plate. Sometimes, the day is coming to an end without you even noticing the rumbling in your tummy because you’d forgotten to have breakfast or lunch. Others around you of course, would notice the significant change in your size or appetite. So, pay attention to what they say.
Don’t get me started on your drastic mood swings. It’s almost too easy to lose temper over something that goes wrong. You get ticked off in a matter of seconds. The smallest mistake could upset you and having cried for a couple of minutes, you might not even have a clue as to why you cried. On some days you may feel as if you’re on top of the world and have everything under control. Everything would appear dandy in your eyes and you’d also probably be more efficient and motivated on such days. Unfortunately, you can slip downward by the following day and feel blue and useless.
Lack of concentration and motivation at work is also something common when going through a quarter life crisis. You may find yourself constantly distracted and unable to perform even the smallest of tasks. The job you love might seem a little too boring and you may feel less motivated to keep at it. You may also begin to feel less passionate about what you do for a living and perhaps not want to do anything for some time. Constantly comparing yourself to others and seeing how they have their lives put together, could also upset your mind and cause a great deal of unnecessary stress.
In these situations, always remember that you are not alone. There are over seven billion people in the world and someone else out there is going through the exact same situations, feelings and troubles as you. Some are also possibly going through worse. Regardless, life does not and will not stop to pat you on the back and pull you back on your feet. You have to do this yourself. It’s okay to feel like you don’t have everything in your life intact. That’s a part of growing up and gradually, you will learn from your mistakes. It’s okay to falter and mess up because those moments will define you in the years to come. You will not be put into situations that you cannot handle or are capable of not pulling through. Life is certainly not an easy journey so take small steps to push forward and become a ‘better you’. If you feel you are unable to get out of bed, at least work from home on your laptop. If you find yourself feeling less motivated at work, take a couple minutes’ break and chat with someone close to you. It helps to open up and let others know how you feel.
The important thing is to not give up; especially on you. Try and eat either a little more or a little less as the days go on. Do things that make you happy. Read a book when you have the time or watch a movie. Go for a walk by the park or beach, if you need a breather. Fresh air will help clear your mind. Learn also to control your emotions and moods. Think before you speak or snap at those around you. Sometimes it’s better to hold your tongue than say something hurtful to others, which you would later regret. It’s easy to shut others out of your life but this will only add to the loneliness you feel. Take time to go out, meet your friends and family. These changes won’t happen overnight but it’s up to you to make it a point to do small things in order to live a better life and understand that you will get past this.
**As published in Ceylon Today newspapers**