Young people at my age (around the mid to late 20s) seem to be increasingly running into what some have deemed “quarterlife crisis.” This crisis seems to rear into young people’s mind after college and they find that aren’t making as much progress in their lives as they thought they were, or perhaps were just used to idea of academic progress for the last couple of years and wondered what to do next. I think I ran into this crisis myself, when I suddenly realized a few years after college “where am I going in life?” Recently, a friend of mine (who I shall keep nameless) pondered a few ways to deal with this herself, so she wrote a list of things she thought about doing to solve her quarter-life crisis.
Having tried to resolve this crisis myself in a multitude of ways, I thought it would be best to describe what I thought of each option (the options are in bold; my opinions are next to them):
- Go back to school – A multitude of people enter the crisis after leaving school, because really they’ve spent most of their life in school. School provides structure and relatively clear feedback as to your progress. So it can make sense to go back and study a bit more broadly. Two problems of course are the added cost of more school and picking a proper field of study. However, some short certificate classes or even something more out there (Wine Studies?) could be a fun thing to do that is lower risk and give you experience outside your area of expertise.
- Travel – 2 weeks as a tourist can be fun, but there’s also an option called the vocation vacation. These are vacations where you can try new fields for a couple of days and really explore it at low risk (http://vocationvacations.com/). It’s great for people who’ve always wondered what would it be like to be this or that. I’ve never done this myself, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about trying. Might be worth calling a travel agent on.
- Start a family – Yeah, don’t do this if you’re in “crisis.” It does change your perspective on things (or so I’ve been told), but probably not a good time to do that.
- Change jobs – As someone who just recently changed his job, it can be helpful in some ways and in some ways more troubling. Your new job will not always be better than your old one, but in a lot of ways getting a new job lets you dictate a new, better direction for your life. If you really want to change jobs or even if you aren’t sure you want to, networking really helps. Talking to people at different places can let you see what’s out there and what’s interesting. It is of course tough to change career paths unless you are willing to take a hit in salary, but who knows what’s out there. Just feel free to look. Again a vocation vacation maybe nice.
- Take a Mini-Retirement Break – A book about this topic is called The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. He wrote about how he escaped the corporate rat race and started taking these mini-vacations all the time. Of course, he has more money, but still he had some good practical tips for doing what he did (YouTube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYpRja0-vrU).
These are just a couple of ideas you can try to get out of the rut in your life and try something different. Any more ideas? Leave a comment.