Morning Talk: Quarter Life Crisis

Quarter Life Crisis. I have heard this term a lot in the past few years, and 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 another fabulous kick-off in their life. This achievement somehow becomes a pressure as we might think that others are doing better than us or one step ahead, unconsciously. Neighbor's grass always looks greener, doesn't it?

Recently, I observed some of my female friends and found that the topic of marriage is still becoming hot to talk about. “Gua udah 26 nih. Temen-temen gua udah pada nikah.” was the most reason I often heard from them. I was very tempted to reply, “So what?” but I preferred listening to them in the 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. In my opinion, 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 factor in increasing people’s anxiety levels. We are easily exposed to the images of people's life or achievement in the virtual world, and unconsciously, it makes us compare ourselves with them. This process of comparison can affect our self-esteem. In extreme cases, some people commit suicide due to unbearable social pressure or having a never-enough feeling. Psychologists highly suggest for those who have suicidal thoughts 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, relationships, 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 hiking an exotic mountain in eastern Indonesia, B’s exciting 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 where 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 stages 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 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 charity to help kids in remote areas, let’s come to good workshops to improve ourselves, and let’s learn something new because this world is big. Yes, this world is big.


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