You've got a job. A flat. A partner who loves you. You might even have a car. And after years of college and crippling debts, you finally feel you have something to show for it. Or do you?
A quarter-life crisis, as it is known, is a recent term coined to describe the lives of twenty and thirty-somethings who haven't a clue where they're heading. And what was once a problem of the middle-aged appears to have been transferred to millennials. Perhaps the quarter-life crisis is the new mid-life crisis?
After all, today's job market isn't kind to graduates. It expects a lot, yet gives little in return. Today, a PhD graduate could easily find themselves working in Starbucks. But don't despair. You may very well be in a quarter-life crisis, but the crisis doesn't have to last long.
With that said, here are ten signs to help identify whether or not you are in a crisis as well as a few tips to guide you in the right direction.
1. You hate your job
Most millennials, unless they are fortunate enough to land their dream job, find out that the world of work isn't exactly enthralling. Some positions may even pay well, but the job itself probably isn't one they dreamed doing as a child. So instead of skipping to work on a Monday morning, you drag yourself out of bed each morning and ask yourself why you couldn't have just done another degree at college.
However, the fact you're questioning what makes you happy is a good sign. If you hate your job, then do something else. Or at least look for other options. Never settle- especially when you're young enough to dabble without thinking of the needs of others.
2 Relationships seem scary
What was once a dream come true and an escape from reality now seems daunting and even frightening. If you're in a relationship already, you may wonder whether your future rests on marriage or a break-up. And then what? Kids? A mortgage? Even twenty and thirty-something singletons are wearier than ever of jumping into a committed courtship. At that age, you may think it's paramount you get it right.
But don't fret. See how it goes. If you like someone, it doesn't have to mean being with them forever. And likewise with long-term relationships. If you're happy, then continue being happy. Don't let weddings and kids (all of which are thoughts in your head) scare you.
3. You compare yourself to your 'successful' friends
Instagram, Facebook. Twitter. Young people live in a digital age where everything is accessible. And that includes the lives of your buddies. You may have seen a friend from school posting an article about their business getting profiled in Forbes. Or that beautiful girl you always had a crush on travelling the world with someone who you thought was your best friend.
Limit social media. It serves little other than to waste your time and to drain your existence. Learn to live and move forward and in time; you'll focus more on yourself, not others.
4. You feel pressure to live someone else's 'dream'
Many young people went to college to pursue the 'dreams' of their parents, as opposed to theirs. You may have even become a successful doctor because of it.
But is that a role you relish the moment you wake up? You may feel like you're letting your parents down, but in your early life, before responsibilities weigh you down, it's imperative you jump ship before it's too late.
5. The thought of your life staying the same sends chills down your spine
Great! It should be! Once you settle, you become lazy and complacent. Fear drives people forward, so the fact you're aware of your predicament and want to better yourself is a positive sign. Of course, saying you'll do something and following through with it is an entirely different ballgame.
So ask yourself what is about your life you want to change? And ultimately, at what point in your life, if everything were to go to plan, would you be satisfied?
6. You continually reminisce about "the good old days"
The moment you start sounding like your grandfather, you'll soon realise you are living in the past and wanting to escape the present. But why? What's so wrong about the present that makes you look back rather than forward? Was life easier? Did you see your friends more?
Assess what it was and see if you can incorporate some aspects of it into the future. Remember, life in your early adult years should be fun, but it's also a time which requires serious thought.
7. You're terrified of putting your dreams into action
In fairness, people of all ages suffer from this. A want to better yourself but a lack of willpower and energy to do anything meaningful about it.
Break free of that mindset, though, and you'll realise anything is possible. Young people are impatient thanks to a world of instant gratification, but with time, you'll start seeing results. The primary determinants of success are patience and persistence. If you can apply those two into your actions, then you'll be on your way to something great.
8. You can't understand why you're still not happy- despite your achievements
On the other hand, young people can find success earlier on in life. They may even have a house, a nice car, a partner who adores them. Yet something doesn't feel right.
Why? Because when we achieve goals, our natural inclination is to do something else. Being content at such a young age isn't always a good thing, so always try and set yourself something new each day. It could even be to volunteer for a month in South America. Or even write a book.
9. You want to get away from it all and leave everything else behind
We all feel like packing it in at times, and you don't have to an Eat, Pray, Love moment of spiritual awakening to realize that your life isn't in the least bit satisfying.
In fact, you might just want to break free from a job you realised shortly after graduating isn't half as rewarding as the job description made it out to be. So live while you're young. Backpack. Work in an animal sanctuary. Do what you love first. Remember, professional life doesn't have to start after college. It begins when you know what you want.
10. You no longer get asked for ID
When we're younger, we want to look older. And when we're 'older' we want to look younger. It's a lose-lose situation. A catch-22 if you like. But one shouldn't worry about age. Looks fade, and you mustn't attach yourself to looking like the perfect person because perfection doesn't exist.
But happiness does.