Inspiration · Quarter Life Crisis

Surviving the Quarter-Life Crisis: On Restlessness

Do you ever just want to fast-forward to a time where you have a job, car, house, family, [insert fantasy here]? Do you feel like you’re trapped in a place between university and adulthood, and try as you may, your life seems to be at a standstill? Like you’re late, stuck, being held up, or just not living up to expectations?

You’re not alone.

Clock in Kings Cross railway station
Time is always slipping away (photo credit: Wikipedia)

Restlessness.  It’s one of the most commonly described feelings of someone in their twenties, and so often, it actually holds us back. We desire nothing more than to move forward into that “dream scenario” that we’ve plotted out. Whether we see ourselves with a high paying job, with kids and a loving spouse, or just somewhere else, this desire brings about feelings of annoyance and frustration when our dreams appear to be on hold.

Ok – So you haven’t yet achieved your dreams yet. You might feel like you’re going no where, when actually you’re just stuck in a waiting period. Of course, it’s only in hindsight that we can see the progression of time necessary between setting out and accomplishing a feat. So what can you do if you’re not getting the results that you want right now?

I suppose you have two options: you can mope and continue to hold yourself back; or you can get up and live in the present.

Moping may sound like the easier of the two, but if you don’t like your situation now – then there’s really not a chance that you’ll like it after 6 months of sulking despondently and playing the blame game.

So let’s focus instead on the more realistic solution. Living in the present and moving forward with your goals.

To be honest, you can’t expect to accomplish everything at once. Most likely you’ll have to choose to pursue one goal at a time – no matter what your friends or family members seem to be doing around you. Concentrate on the most pressing issue – such as securing entry-level employment – and make that your primary goal. But keep in mind that even if you spend countless hours trying to secure that dream job, you may still feel restless and as stuck as ever when you don’t see it happening.

But what if you can’t find the work that inspires you? Or what if you really want to travel instead of waiting around? Have you considered taking time to go work abroad? There are a number of programs offered to allow young people to teach English abroad, or pursue volunteering opportunities in developing countries. If you really just need to get away, then you might want to check these out – who knows, maybe they’ll ignite a new passion for you to pursue upon your return!

Experiencing restlessness and the desire to fast forward to your dream life is normal – so try not to dwell on it! Keep yourself focused on the present and on accomplishing the things that will help you achieve your goals. The wait may seem endless if your fail to enjoy what you do have.

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7 thoughts on “Surviving the Quarter-Life Crisis: On Restlessness

  1. I didn’t think so many people felt the way I did, but it seems I’m not alone!
    The best way to leave the “stuck” position is to do something. Things don’t change when there is no change to be had.

  2. Great advice, for anybody at any age. As someone facing my midlife crisis, my advice is to cherish the time you have now, the unfettered freedom to explore. Take advantage of it! Once those dreams start coming true, you will have fewer dreams.

  3. I found a way to live in the present. I went through a midlife crisis and made me so depressed that I was unable to live every day presently. I struggled so much and I definitely moped around a lot. I started to follow the advice of Dr. Robi Ludwig. I saw her on a tv show once and I really appreciated her take on current psychological issues. She has written two books but my favorite book is Your Best Age is Now. I have read it and loved it! I highly recommend it to anyone out there struggling with dealing with midlife. I got hit hard during my 40’s and this book really helped me to become a better version of myself.

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