The Quarter-Life Crisis Syndrome

In this day and age, where so many people seem to be doing well, on social media and otherwise, it’s not uncommon for a lot of 20 + year olds to draw comparisons, wonder “Am I doing well in life?” and then, feel like a complete loser for not being where others are or seem to be.

I mean, every time you click on someone’s profile or Facebook Page, you get this entire world of entrepreneurial material that makes you sit and wonder “What are THESE people doing that I’m not” and when nothing else comes to mind you just opt to feel like a complete loser, even though you aren’t one…….and that’s an issue that has become completely normal. Unhealthy, untrue and useless….but acceptance of this state of mind has made it normal nevertheless.

In fact, this post is the product of a query asked by a particular SnapChat follower which (though not worded exactly as mentioned here) was as follows: how does one deal with stress…..especially if it makes you skinny-fat?

When I asked them about the cause of stress they mentioned that a quarter-life crisis had impacted them to the extent that it actually affected their weight. As much as I (at one point in time) would have said that this is manageable, a person actually going through the process finds it a lot more difficult to digest their past failures, especially as a 20-something year old than someone who’s older. Why? Because this is the first time they’ve come into their own and are dealing with responsibilities, work, unsolicited bs advice and all sorts of issues that can weigh them down. Having been through this process myself, here are a few things I feel could help anyone going through this process:

Read self-improvement books and articles.

When I was going through a rough time, I picked up any and every book that screamed “self-improvement”. The Power of Now, The Secret, The Power. I followed Positive Psychology and other Pages and accounts of the sort on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. I kept it to myself at first because a lot of people who meant well would dismiss the idea and say “I could have told you the same things these lame books are telling you” and I’d just be like “BUT YOU AIN’T, BEYOTCH”.

Such material helps you realize that there are others out there and it enables you to understand your mind processes and direct your energy in a more positive and effective manner. Honestly speaking, I’ve NEVER felt as low as I once did because such books taught me a lot more about myself than any person (or their experience) ever did.

Focus on your talents and interests.

I know it seems useless or tough at first but TRUST ME when I say that it really does pay off in the long run (insert large brick wall with a middle finger imprinted on it to articles that say following your heart is never a good idea) but be practical about it. The more you focus on your talents and interests, the closer you come to discovering your ‘true calling’ and that way you end up in a field of work that doesn’t feel like work because you actually enjoy what you do.

Like to write? Come up with a blog. Enjoy keeping fit? Look for places that are interested in hiring instructors and work on yourself. Love to cook? Get a few ingredients, get into the kitchen and ask your friends, family and God for forgiveness in advance because you ARE likely to burn or spoil the first meal you make.

Know that your past is your past. 

Most people allow the past to affect and define them and hey, I get it. If you failed in the past, you fear the same result might repeat itself in the future. But here’s the thing: the past is gone and the future isn’t here yet….hence, the word “future”. This just fuels the crisis aspect of the matter and guess what: it’s doing you more harm than it is good.

Rather than allowing past failures to get to you, you SHOULD be focusing on your past successes, in the present. AND learn from your failures. I can’t even begin to describe the number of times I’ve failed in various aspects of my own, personal life…..I mean I can but I don’t want to sound like a ‘pity me now’ record because there are too many peeps out there that are already doing that for a living. BUT the one thing that I learned to do was to stop looking at those moments as failures and to start looking at them as learning curves. Off the top of my head I failed quite a few subjects as a student. Math was never a strong point. I had to repeat a year back when I was in school and then once when I was in college.  I failed at losing weight AND to top it all off, I was this painfully shy kid who allowed people to bully me when I knew I needed to take control.

Feeling bad for me yet? If not, you’re just cold.
But seriously, all of what I’ve written above is true. After a certain point (I believe when I was 20) I learned to look past these failures and to build on them so that I wouldn’t feel miserable about myself. Not only did that work phenomenally to my advantage but it also made me feel emotionally independent, mentally stronger and physically fitter as a person.

Build a support system.

One of the most important lessons I learned in life was not to just rely on every Tom, Dick and Shagufta out there but to build a support system that was inclusive of honest, blunt but positive people and friends.

Someone going through a quarter-life crisis is likely to hang out a lot and to socialize more than he or she needs to because such people find comfort in temporary distractions. The problem is, you’re not just distracting yourself but you’re also attracting a plethora of negativity because you’re surrounding yourself with people who care less about you than I do about Game of Thrones (UGHHHHHH). That’s saying A LOT by the way. Seriously, stop caring about who’s wearing what and pay no heed to gossip, rumors and STOP CALLING FAKE PEOPLE YOUR FRIENDS. Filter them out and start listening to the people who actually do care about you as a person.

Talk to people who don’t judge you but who TRY to understand you and what you’re going through (instead of those who make fun of you). Stop socializing and start introspecting. Such people will actually provide you with useful tips and the kind of help you need because they know and genuinely care for you.

Get to know yourself.

Spend some time AWAY from everything and everyone else. Get to know yourself and DO NOT allow yourself to emotionally invest yourself elsewhere before you do so. This way you end up a happier, more grounded person than someone who’s all about labels and an entire jargon of superficial crap that’ll transform itself into a blob of botox a few years from today.

I remember when I was going through this phase in my life, I’d just listen to songs that would make me feel sane. I’m not ashamed to say Hilary Duff was my favorite artist because there was something about her songs that just made everything feel brighter and actually enabled me to get out of a horribly depressive phase.


Hopefully the tips I’ve given you above would help you but if not, you can always send me a message on my page.

But why shouldn’t you allow the stress to get to you?

Here’s why: stress affects you in multiple ways and I’m not just talking about weight here. Back when I was living in Islamabad (the capital of Pakistan and the hub of boredom but scenic beauty too) stressful social (not domestic) circumstances had affected me to the extent that I was depressed, physically weak and I eventually had to be hospitalized till a doctor suggested I needed to move away ASAP because matter would only get worse from that point on. I was suffering from borderline typhoid AND depression and I’d lost my best friend in an unfortunate car accident.

Therefore, the stress had seeped into and affected every aspect of my life, making me a physically weak (albeit flabby), emotionally drained and vulnerable individual who had a lot of work to do on himself.

This is something that many people going through quarter-life crisis experience too but they aren’t always aware of the psychological, physical and mental and emotional implications.


Hope this article helps you and if you have any queries or questions, feel free to comment in the comments section below!



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