Morning Talk: Quarter Life Crisis

Quarter Life Crisis. This term has been familiar to me in recent years, but now, it becomes more popular to discuss, especially among people in my generation who turn 26 this year. You see your friends are getting married, having kids (more than one!), pursuing a higher degree, starting their own business, signing up for international races, and other fabulous kick-off in their life. This achievement somehow becomes a pressure as we might think that others are performing better or one step ahead. Neighbor's grass always looks greener, doesn't it?

Recently, I observed some of my female friends and found that marriage is still being a trending topic to talk about. “Gua udah 26 nih. Temen-temen gua udah pada nikah.” was the most common reason I heard from them. I was very tempted to reply, “So what?” but I preferred listening to them at first place and trying to put myself in their shoes. When I dug deeper, they said that they are getting to worry because they haven’t found "the one" yet, while their friends did. This is where insecurity starts taking over and tries to steal people's true happiness.

Looking at where we are now, I can say that social media is a significant contributor to an increase of people’s anxiety. We are easily exposed to images of other's life or achievement in virtual world, and unconsciously, it makes us compare ourselves with others. This process of comparation can affect our self-esteem. For the extreme case, some people commit suicide due to unbearable social pressure or having a never-enough-feeling. Psychologists highly suggest for those who have suicidal thoughts to do social media detox for a period of time. If we cannot filter the content wisely, we won't stop comparing ourselves with others. We always feel less. We feel left behind. And, believe me, it is not good for our mental health.

On the other hand, hot topics like marriage, relationship and everything in between are not intensely talked about when I hang out with male friends. Last night, I met my male peers after weeks and we had such a good time. We enjoyably talked about A’s last thrilling experience on hiking exotic mountain in eastern Indonesia, B’s excitement yet nervous interview with an NGO he desired to join in, and C’s preparation to enter a dormitory life to serve his faith. More interesting, huh?

However, as a woman, I can relate to my female friends’ insecurity. I’ve been there. One by one my friends got engaged or married, and deep inside I wished I have it too, soon, until I came to one point that this all, the insecurity and life problem, is an iterative thing. The crisis will always be there. No matter how old we are. I like Iqbal Hariadi’s point of view that saw a quarter life crisis as a phase we need to pass, just like other stage of life. Each phase has surely its own obstacles. You turn 30, you will face particular problems. You turn 40, life problems may differ but they are still there. Life just goes on.

For me, self-control plays an important role to go through this quarter-life-crisis-thingy. It is only me who can control my mind to not feel less after seeing someone’s achievement on the screen. I urge myself to turn the jealousy or insecurity into a power to do things that might be useful for others because you know what? We are young, free, and full of energy!

And to all my female friends:
Yo, girl, let’s make a grant proposal so we can help more people in need, let’s make a book charity to help kids in remote area, let’s come to good workshops to improve ourselves, let’s learn something new, because this world is big. Yes, this world is big.


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