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How to Beat Your Quarterlife Crisis

Adam Starr/ NonProfitPeople


Identify the source of stress

Sometimes having too many options is just as stressful as not having any options. Both extremes can lead to emotional paralysis. That uncertainty is what leads to the gnawingly anxious state that we define as the Quarterlife Crisis. Half a century ago, these decisions were simpler. People would marry young. Women would usually start to have children, then stay at home and raise the family and look after the household. Men would go to work. They would go to offices or factories or take over the family business. Many people would do exactly the same thing that their parents had done, often in the same town, factory or company. Their life path was set. If unexciting, at least it was predictable.

Times have changed, and whether it seems like it or not right now, this is a good thing. We have choices and technologies available to us that have totally revolutionized what we can do, and how we can do it. We have replaced our postwar industrial system with an information economy, we traffic in ideas like we used to traffic in commodities. The machines of this new system are powered by creativity and dedication to constant self-improvement.

In good news: You just graduated from college. Whether or not it feels like, you have a huge advantage over all of the people less fortunate in the education department. Now it is time to apply the last 25 years of experience and education towards a focused career path. If it sounds daunting, remember, you are not alone. Millions of other young people have experienced and triumphed over this crisis.

It is time to get organized. Feeling a chaotic lack of structure has created this anxious state; to combat it we need to put order back into our schedules. Maybe we moved home with our parents to save money and regroups. Maybe we are working in part time jobs, that’s okay. By identifying the problem and establishing a long-term goal you are already on the right track.

Step 3) Create order out of chaos