First of all, yes this a real thing. And now that I am fast approaching the ripe old age of 25, I freely admit I often catch myself contemplating my life today. There is a continual dialogue in the media surrounding how we live today, the way we should be living, our career success in relation to the state of the global economy in this temperamental post-recession era, how to achieve relationship bliss and our overall satisfaction with life.
So I guess my question is, am I facing a quarter life crisis? Is my life what I thought it would be? Am I satisfied with my life? Am I meeting the requirements set by society?
I have come to realise that at 25, my life is not at all what I thought it would be, however, I’m happy with a large proportion of my life. I feel as though I have achieved a lot, however, at this stage in my life, my career is not what I thought it would be. After finishing my MA I took the opportunity to go travelling around Asia where I had an amazing time, met some fantastic people and was lucky enough to have many once in a lifetime experiences.
Yet, I often have to remind myself to hold on to those memories as I end up comparing myself to everyone around me. At present, everyone on my MA course either has a relevant job or is studying… Except me. That is not to say I’m not looking, I’ve had interviews but, from the feedback I’ve received I’m lacking in experience. In order to resolve this issue, which I have fully taken on board, I have decided to apply for internships in order to get more experience.
The trouble is, I keep noticing this horrible catch 22 situation where the goal posts are constantly being shifted leaving graduates and young people in a precarious situation. I think there are a few issues at play here; firstly, these days, a job is no longer for life, as was written about by a former colleague while interning, I think that this is having a knock-on effect in that companies are not necessarily willing to invest a great deal of time, money and energy into an individual if the belief is that they are in fact going to be leaving soon anyway, which in turn is causing greater competition among young job seekers (I believe) as the opportunities available to gain more relevant experience become increasingly important so that ultimately you can achieve the career you’ve been working towards.
Essentially times have changed dramatically for our generation compared to others, with this in mind, I decided to ask my parents what they were doing when they were 25. Due to the age gap between them, they’ve lived quite different lives, my dad settled when he was older which allowed him to have adventures when he was young. He stated that at 25 he was ‘probably fishing’. Whereas my mother in contrast, was raising me, being a wife and working part time. I guess this raises a question over the difference between the perceived pressures that each gender faces individually, as well as taking age into consideration. However, I feel that this is a broad topic worthy of it’s own blog entirely.
I think that the notion of a quarter life crisis comes from external pressures from society that we internalise and put ourselves under. In my mind, as I was growing up, there was always an expectation of where I’d be, what I’d be doing and I guess what material things I’d have at certain ages. But now I’m here, I feel as though it’s impossible to meet the expectations of traditional society in the contemporary realm in which we now live. It can be hard being an individual, blazing a trail when there are still traditional expectations of ‘work hard at school, go to college and uni, get a good job, buy a house, get married, have children’.
I think that holding onto personal successes and setting yourself individual targets can prevent an internal crisis, rather than continually assessing what everyone else is doing. But there is still an internal tussle over what I am doing, and what I think I should be doing. Is it really possible to do everything and have everything you want in life (not necessarily materialistic) without making compromises? I think the real driving force behind my decision making process is the fear of regrets, therefore I guess I’m trying to do everything that I want to do while I have the opportunity to do it.