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Our prehistoric ancestors probably had it easy when it came to winning the game of life.
It was ‘eat or be eaten’ for the most part, and they did all right considering their success in propagating human life to the four corners of the earth.
And then, here we are — painstakingly navigating the various crossroads of modern society.
The quarter-life crisis: A coming of age moment when most of us find ourselves face-to-face with an impenetrable wall of self-doubt and uncertainty.
Kudos to those that have it figured out. But for the rest of us, we are pretty much in the same boat.
At an age where society dictates that we ought to have our life in order, the majority of us are clueless about what we want in life, a classic symptom of the quarter-life crisis.
Here’s a little ‘sage’ advice from a 25-year-old who hasn’t got it all figured out.
Know your priorities
I’ve realized the importance of setting a priority for myself to have more perspective on my direction in life.
Born a rebel, with or without a cause. My childhood and teen years were a blur of wanting to leave the nest and grasping the sweet taste of independence.
The turning point came when I lost someone dear to me, a relative who was a constant presence in my life.
It was then and there that I was grateful for my decision to stick around my hometown to pursue my tertiary studies, and subsequently take my first steps into working life.
I was thankful for the few extra years I got to spend with said relative.
Surely death is part and parcel of life, but this experience certainly jolted me awake towards reassessing my priority in life — Which is to nurture my relationships with those who matter.
While most of my peers are out there hustling, I have decided to slow things down a bit in favor of spending more time with family, friends and my beloved furbabies.
My advice would be to prioritize whatever feeds your soul.
Trial and error
Having been in the workforce for a short couple of years, I’ve wandered from job to job, held down more than one job at a time, and made a conscious decision to take a break from work for the benefit of my mental health.
I came out of all these with a renewed sense of identity. Each experience gave me invaluable insights about myself, my likes and dislikes, my strengths and weaknesses.
It is through this cycle of troubleshooting that I’m working towards discovering my place in society.
I call this process of trial and error method of self-discovery.
Not all of us are lucky enough to have a career we love, but I believe there are different lessons to be learned from every job, boss, and colleague we encounter.
There will be the good, the bad and the ugly.
There will be days when it is hard to wake up for work, days when we have a great time bonding with colleagues over a cup of coffee, days when we get so angry at work that we have to ball up our fists and try our best not to sucker punch anyone.
But once all these are done and dusted, I realized how much I’ve learned about myself and the society we live in.
How to accept constructive criticism, when to give in and when to stand my ground, when to humble myself in serving people, while also not allowing people to step all over me.
Only through experiencing all these will I be ready for my next endeavor, more certain and sure of myself and my capabilities.
Contentment is key
Rather than being happy all the time, I find contentment to be a more stable and tranquil state of mind.
At an age when we are becoming our own person, peer pressure is doing more harm than good.
Picture-perfect lives flood our newsfeeds on social media; it is hard to not be envious.
My solution to that is to strive for contentment.
Contentment comes easily when we start to appreciate the little things in our lives.
Dinner after work with our families, bubble tea sessions with our friends to vent out our frustrations, weekend walks at the beach with the dogs.
As mundane as these may seem, these little things are what life is all about.
It is impossible for all of us to have the equal opportunity to fulfill our dreams, be it traveling to foreign countries, owning a successful business, having a fairytale wedding.
But take a moment to realize that we each have the same opportunity to appreciate what we currently have in our lives.
Life passes by in the blink of an eye — before you know it, we will be well on our way into a mid-life crisis.
Before that happens, let’s not worry too much about winning the ‘rat race’ that is conventionally expected of us.
But rather, take our time to discover ourselves and know what we truly want in life.
For more articles about the quarter-life crisis, read The Four Qualities Every Well-Adjusted Adult Should Have and Being a Millenial: Stages of Adulting.