I love binge watching Ted Talks and inspirational videos on YouTube.One day I came across a very interesting topic about quarter-life crisis. I was not really sure what it was about but after watching it, I realised it is something I go through almost every day. As a millennial (a person reaching young adulthood in the 21st century), but there is a lot of pressure on us. There is this belief that we have to accomplish certain things at a certain time. We have to have a degree at 21, car at 23, the house at 25, married at 27 and kids at a certain age. Society expects us to be somewhere or have something at a certain age, but it is not as realistic as it is presented to us. There is a lot of pressure on us to catch up to the status quo. This results in most of us being stressed and depressed (some without knowing it or realising it). Majority of people understand depression as being paranoid, withdrawn (mood swings) or suicidal (which has claimed so many lives) but it has some of the most unexpected symptoms or signs. For example, sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, not caring about your appearance, not interested in anything, trouble concentrating or being forgetful, fear of failing without trying, losing confidence, feeling numb and a whole lot more. And these are not even the clinical symptoms!
This is something the majority of millennials go through without realising it, including myself. At this age, we are torn between what we want to do or what we were told to do. We are at crossroads on whether to pursue what we are passionate about or what makes us richer and “stable”. We are allowed to dream all of our lives but as soon as we reach around eighteen, we are told to choose more “realistic” career paths. And we are expected to have it all figured out when we are just getting to know and understand ourselves.
Where I come from (Zimbabwe), there is no such thing as depression. Its either you have a bad attitude or you are just a lazy, ungrateful and disrespectful person. When we trying to speak our mind or voice our opinions its classed as being ill-mannered or disobedient. When we feel withdrawn, aloof or numb, it is classed as idle or dull and it actually becomes your label. Most of us can not talk about it because we are accused of pretending, being weak or told to suck it up as an adult. Even when we tell our brothers and sisters in Christ, its deemed as lack of faith or you are not praying enough. I truly believe the quarter-life the crisis is something crucial that we have never really thought about.It needs as much attention as midlife crisis or any other crisis because so many lives are being lost, dreams and passions are fizzled out because what we hope for never really happens the way we expect. The older generation think of it as the rebellious period, at times yes because we are now exposed to the things we have been looking forward to but at times it is a cry for help.
We internalise the stress and we end up bitter, lashing out and paranoid. And we convince ourselves we are not good at anything, for example, most of my life I have always thought I am not talented or gifted in any way. This has pressured me to try and do something that I do not like only because I want to prove to everyone and myself that I might be good at something. Comparison kicks in and there are millennials who have set the bar pretty high and the bar is very hard to reach eg Mark Zuckerberg, Malala Yousafzai and many others. Unemployment rates are high amongst millennials, not because we are lazy but we are expected to have thirty years experience by our twenty-first birthday. Others are even fired for being too young and told to learn to bounce back regardless. There are even those who have ticked all the boxes of society’s status quo, successful, independent, car, private jet-you name it but they still go through the quarter-life crisis. We are not a lazy generation as I heard someone say.”The generation of young people who throw tantrums when they are not given what they want”.We are just misunderstood and it would make a huge difference if the older generations could hear us out and realise we are more than what meets the eye.
So many of us have times when we get stressed and depressed or you know someone who is going through it. Please know you are not the only one but their millions if not billions of us out there. Make sure you have someone to talk to and let us believe and pray that God helps us through it too(as much as we might be told we have little faith or are not praying enough-He is always there regardless and He will never leave you). I will post the links of some Ted Talks videos which have opened my mind to this and I hope it helps you too. Knowing how not a lot of people like reading, I opted for videos on this topic.
Proverbs 3 v 6: in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your path straight.