Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Quarter Life Crisis?

    The other day was just browsing through the net while working when I came across this particular jargon "Quarter Life Crisis". I've heard mid life crisis before and though i dun really know what it is, i felt like probably am going through Quarter Life Crisis too.

    For those who don't know what it is, below is a small article about it....

    20-something? Time for a quaterlife crisis

    Young , single, with money to blow and your whole life ahead of you. That's the terrific twenties when one can go from gym to party to boardroom (or bedroom).

    Acne and awkwardness is left behind and there's a promise of great things to come. But instead of living it up, a growing number of precocious 20-somethings are having a quarterlife crisis.

    The malaise, which strikes way before the classic midlife crisis, has even started afflicting Bollywood heroes. Why else did the college-going Sid (played by Ranbir Kapoor) need a three-hour film to wake up?

    Anxiety, confusion, loneliness and self-doubt (especially after the excitement around graduation fades) are telltale symptoms and they're showing up everywhere: in the short lifespan of relationships, the frequency with which jobs are changed and the number of youngsters seeking solace in spirituality.

    The expectation hangover
    Christine Hassler, life coach and author of '20 Something, 20 Everything' who first identified and trademarked the 'expectation hangover epidemic' , says the crisis crops up when there are no clear answers to the 'Twenties Triangle' . ''Who am I, what do I want and how do I get it? Not knowing the answers to those questions leads to feelings of panic, confusion, or lack of motivation,'' she says. According to her, the quarterlife crisis is a very natural rite of passage that shows up without any warning.'' It is a crossroads in life, a time when the real world hits and you feel like you are faced with decisions that you do not know how to make,'' she says. Unfortunately, degrees do not come with instructions for the real world.

    That would probably have come in handy for 23-year-old Saima Khan, a mass media graduate from Mumbai, who has switched four jobs in the past two years. She blames her confusion on the fact that she is interested in everything and committed to nothing. "I listen to a lot of people," confesses Khan, who started off wanting to be a journalist. Her first job though was an internship with an event management company. She later joined a corporate PR firm, but after 15 days of "no work", Khan decided to quit and settle for an advertising job that she soon tired of. "Many job interviews would go well till the point they asked me why I jumped so much,'' she says.

    Even a fat pay cheque can't keep youngsters contented. Process trainer Ophaelia Deroze, who has been in the human capital management business for many years and even worked as the chief fun officer at a call centre, says she has seen many disillusioned 23-year-olds. ''The fallout of using different names at work, putting on foreign accents leads to an identity crisis. They would often say things like "we don't know who we are," says Deroze.

    Many of them even sign up self-renewal sessions which organisations hold periodically. "The average age at these sessions used to be 40, but these days 28 and 29 year olds are turning up," says Deroze who often urges youngsters to maintain a diary which is a form of daily self-renewal.

    Spoilt for choice
    But is it angst or the availability of too many options? After all in a world of too many choices – when even choosing a mobile ring tone is a difficult decision – working out what you want can be tough. Ishan Bakshi, a 26-year-old who lives in Delhi, admits he's spoilt for choice. An MBA, he quit his job in the investment advisory division of a bank because "I didn't see myself doing that kind of work for the next 20 years. It was too limiting." Now he's contemplating a PhD in economics. '' I have been trying to understand where I want to go and what I want to do." That's what many others are grappling with too. Ronesh Puri, MD of Executive Access, a headhunting firm, says that it is becoming increasingly common for young people to make drastic career switches. ''The problem is expectations. They get disappointed easily as everybody wants more.'' While the quarterlife crisis is almost becoming an epidemic in urban India, the young don't know who to turn to for help. Shaima Gupta, 25, often starts an instant messaging conversation with her friends with - "I'm depressed. I'm so broke, it's killing me. I wanted to buy something today and it killed me that I couldn't. Usually, I just swipe my card and buy it. I have no idea where my life is heading! I wish I had never turned 25." She abruptly ends the conversation with ''you probably don't need this now'' even before the friend on the other side of the screen has a chance to respond.

    The new mantra
    While some unburden themselves online, others take recourse to spirituality though quite a few change gurus as frequently as they do clothes. Nirmala Ganla, gynaecologist and assistant teacher at the Vipassana centre in Pune, says more than 70 per cent of participants in the spiritual programme are between 25 and 35.'' Strangely, only 10 per cent are above 50.'' Interestingly, Manoj Dawane, CEO of Mauj Mobile (a mobile media solutions provider), says there's been a spiralling download rate for spiritual and devotional mobile phone content. The spiritual content – which includes everything from yoga capsules to 108 geeta shlokas explained in three languages – is being consumed largely by the youth, he says.

    Dating dance
    If the young are fickle in spiritual matters so are they in matters of the heart. While most 20-somethings are serial daters, they are just as lonely despite changing partners. Sara M, a self-confessed serial dater, says there's nothing wrong with trial and error.'' It's just a matter of who you would like to end up with, and sometimes you're not sure about that in your head,'' she says. She often finds herself depressed and lonely because there's just no one who really gets her. ''I have more than 300 friends on Facebook, but how many are really friends?'' she asks.

    Psychotherapist and relationship counsellorMinnu Bhonsle says it's not commitment phobia so much as the realisation that the relationship "does not have the potential to last" that makes many 20-somethings break up.

    A quarterlife crisis though is not the end of the world. Regular counselling which increases self-worth can help, says C R Chandrashekhar, senior psychiatrist, NIMHANS. ''We tell people to look at their achievements and feel good about them rather than comparing themselves with others.'' He also says there can be physical manifestations like headaches, body aches and depression. Life coach Hassler says that a quarterlife crisis is something to walk through with patience and compassion. ''The best thing is not to look at yourself as broken or failing in anyway and then begin an internal investigation meaning personal growth work.''

    She admits that when she was 25, she woke up one day in a cold sweat and found herself in the midst of her own quarterlife crisis. ''The good news is that I survived it and can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life.''

    Don’t break up, break out
    Instead of wallowing in self-pity or aimlessly switching jobs, quarterlifers can reinvent themselves. Keith Menon, who is best known as the founder of Batti Bandh campaign which was launched two years ago to raise awareness about global warming, has shown the way. After having experimented with scriptwriting for primetime Hindi soaps, marketing a music label, working for a software technology firm, making short documentary films and freelancing for magazines, he has now set up his own company Melon Ink to fund bored quarterlifers. Menon pays them a stipend and hands over a backpack stuffed with a digital camera, laptop and phone ''to do whatever they like''. The idea, he says, is to ''create assets and a catalogue of the world from the eyes of 20-somethings''. In the process, he funded a hairstylist who decided to take early retirement, from the salon he worked in, to travel to remote villages and give people makeovers.'' Now, he gives villagers in random parts of the country haircuts for Rs 5, blogs about it and has a fantastic time experiencing things he never imagined he would.'' Menon says there's a growing market for a company like his. ''There are so many quarterlifers who feel they are underperforming at the peak of their lives. They need to try new things.''

    Don’t panic: you’ve got 30 years to sort things out
    Try not to measure how successful you are by what your friends are earning. Set your own personal benchmarks for success Avoid stumbling in and out of jobs in rapid succession. It looks bad on the CV. If you really hate the job, consider a sabbatical or work on a voluntary project. If you haven't met the man or woman of your dreams, what's the big hurry? If you are still unhappy, remember, you probably have more than 30 years to sort it out. And worrying will give you wrinkle lines!

    With inputs from Insiya Amir in Delhi and Jayashree Nandi in Bangalore


    Well that sums it up about Quarter Life Crisis. Think this is worthit?

    But guys no matter how it goes, always remember that you do have atleast 1 friend who actually cares...

    Well that's all for now... Thank you again people~ =)

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Quarter Life Crisis?


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