How to survive a quarter life crisis

Design: Fatima Jahan Ena

The transition from childhood to adulthood comes as a shock for many and it comes with feelings of cluelessness, hopelessness, indecision, and apprehension. For many of us, graduating university and figuring out what's next is what causes a quarter life crisis. Not knowing what the next steps are, the uncertainty of employment, questions about higher studies, marriage, and settling down are all concerns which add to this crisis.

This is also perhaps the time where we're trying to figure out who we are as individuals, our values, and where we want to go with our lives. Overall, this time of life isn't easy and you begin overthinking.

Surviving a quarter-life crisis usually requires being self-aware and making bold decisions. For instance, try to identify and properly understand your triggers. If you find yourself being unsure of yourself or questioning your decisions when it comes to a particular topic like employment, marriage, etc., you could try stepping away from such conversations for the time being and refocus on accepting that you're exactly where you're supposed to be.

You might feel like you're falling behind compared to your peers or that there's too much to do and not enough time. Instead of beating yourself up about it, try reassuring yourself that life isn't a race and that we all have different opportunities presented to us. Most importantly, know that you too will have your moment.

Another aspect which might be fuelling your crisis is holding on to your university life and old social circles. As we grow older, some of us drift apart due to differences in opinions, goals, and an overall change in personality. It's okay to detach yourself from these individuals if you feel like they're pressuring you to be a particular way or if you feel out of place.

Finding what makes you happy and learning to be there for yourself is challenging for many of us. When we invest time and effort into family and friends, we sometimes forget to ask ourselves what we need, further adding fire to the quarter life crisis. Learn to be alone and share the silence with yourself. Being mindful of what you need and what's best for you will help you find your passion, prioritise and eventually, find happiness. 

During this period, there will be a discomfort that you aren't familiar with. When you feel uncomfortable, your subconscious is trying to tell you that your current lifestyle doesn't suit you anymore. Embrace the discomfort. Recognise the parts of yourself that are uncomfortable, then attempt to determine what is making you feel that way. Be sincere with yourself and acknowledge any excuses you may have used to make yourself feel better. You'll be relieved that you overcame this discomfort instead of later wondering what is wrong in your life.

And lastly, don't worry. Your feelings are valid. When you're younger, the options are endless and your imagination is unbridled. The harsh reality begins to sink in with age, your imagination starts to dwindle and, for some, becomes irrelevant. Life doesn't need to feel constrained or like you're compromising. Set a goal for yourself to restore excitement and pleasure to your life. Giving yourself a small treat at the end of the day or the week could suffice to achieve this.

Puja does nothing but read Gaiman and drinks unhealthy amounts of coffee. Send her cat photos at


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