On Quarter-life Crisis

Gaurav (@gsik) asked me write something on the Quarter-Life Crisis. Wikipedia defines QLC as
period of life immediately following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the ages of 21 - 30
This definition is hardly sufficient to really explain what it really is. If I can take liberties to explain, in my own words, QLC is that phase of life when you have grown out of your college, you find everyone around you doing great with their lives and you are all confused and dont have a clue what to do with your life.

So I have to answer following questions
  1. Why do I think I suffer from Quarter Life Crisis?
  2. How do I deal with it?
  3. And do I see it as positive or negative energy?

So why do I think I am suffering from QLC?
Few hard facts first. I think I have one of the best jobs in the world with a lot of freedom to do things the way I want to do. My boss is as supportive as anyone can be. My employer is a growing company that will be a powerhouse to reckon with in times to come. I am paid enough money to stay comfortably even in a city like Mumbai. Everything looks hunky-dory. On paper.

While advertising is a great place to be amidst the thick of actions, contributing to few of the biggest brands, trying to create new media and brand businesses, there are times when I feel that I am destined to do things larger and grander than just advertising or brain-storming. I have no clue what this grand dream is. I have been running after for all 25 years of my life and I still dont have a clue where to go with it. There are times when I feel as if I am stuck. And this is the exact reason why I think I am suffering from QLC.

I know that I have had a great education and I am ready to take on the world. But the entire exercise of taking on the world is not even starting. Everything I do, however grand it may be from my perspective looks insignificant compared to the entire world.

And then there are my friends. Everyone seems to be making more money than me. Everyone seems to be having an absolute blast in life with global travels, time for themselves, relationships, carer advancements and latest gadgets whereas I am stuck in Mumbai with nothing of this sort happening. And not even remote chances of it in the sight.

I know I am a future rich famous and important guy but I dont know how and when would I reach there. I have opinions on things around me. Rather strong ones at that. I think everyone around me is mediocre and needs improvement. I dont want to spend time with these people and I would rather sit online trying to discover a new new thing rather than meeting people in social settings. I still laugh and cry with them but mentally I am very detached from them.

I am told that all these symptoms (and thousands others that I am not writing about) point to one thing. And one thing only. That I do suffer from Quarter-Life Crisis.

And how do I deal with it?
Since there are no medications available that might help someone suffering from QLC, I have to resort to home grown ideas. I am giving away an entire list of remedies that I use.
  1. Get busy. As simple as that. I have been told zillion times that an idle mind is devil's workshop. Most of my friends are really happy with what they do because they dont really have time to think. They get up, goto work, come back, have dinner and sleep. The entire long day makes them tired and all they can do at the end of the day is sleep.
  2. Write. Writing is tough. And especially when its me. I am not really known for my writing and literary skills and it makes the task all the more frustrating. You try to write so that you might get an avenue to channel your frustration through (because you dont really have any friends and the ones that you have dont have time to hear you whine and the ones who actually listen to you dont really understand the predicament you are in). And once the words dont come out, you are left with a half written text, that you save on your hard drive to never open again and eventually delete after 5 years (assuming that you would not want to read what you wrote five years ago).
  3. Motivate yourself. You take examples from what everyone is doing around you. You start dreaming that you can also live their lives if you tried. You start buying bling shirts and star studded jeans and start frequenting the "happening" places. You initially get laughed at. Once you get used to it, you start thinking that you are just being unlucky the first time (and everyone else boasts about the luck of the first-timers). Then after the vanity of first timing fades out, you realize that people have moved on from clubbing to mundane activities like lounge bars and coffee conversations. Moment you reach there, they move on further. Its always like trying to catch that train whose driver is like a kid trying to take a revenge for all the beating you gave him in school.
  4. Get more secluded. If none of the above work, its best to confine yourself to isolation. For one simple reason. You would not break more walls and retain the damage to yourself. In fact I am planning to do exactly this in next couple of months.
Finally I was asked if I see this as negative or positive energy.
I think energy is more positive than negative (at least for me). Reasons are very simple. Moment I see someone doing better than me, I would want to better him at his own game. I know I am not meant to do all the things in the world but at least I get to know more things. And this is something that moves me like no other thing. I can spend my entire life chasing that new thing and once accomplished, move on to the next one. And next one and the next one.

Secondly I also realize that end of the day I am human. However large things I may do, I will always remain a mere mortal that cant live beyond a certain comfort zone. My creations will always be lesser than all the mountains, oceans, Mother Nature. But again, can I get bigger than her? Can I beat her at her own game? Time shall tell and all of us shall stand witness to the confrontation.

And to end it all, yes I do suffer from QLC and I am still trying to find out a solution for the same. Prashant has a very interesting take on the entire thing. Please see his perspective also.

P.S.: Although I do suffer from QLC, the text above is a piece of fiction written on @gsik's request.


Sachin said...

same happening with me...
doing internship in a small company where people dont know what blog is and they think twitter is a bird...
No one knows about the current issues and they just code like monkey whole day....
I think i am wasting most important phase of my life

Sonal Jhuj said...

was the above text really a piece of fiction? sounded pretty true to me. like my life in the words of saurabh garg :)

btw, i've skipped to the isolation stage straight off.

Gsik said...

SG: Thanks for the insight! Looks like many of us are in a similar state of mind. Agree that in most cases it's positive energy. Maybe we need to create a platform/outlet to channel it.

Some thoughts on my blog that might be useful in your journey towards enlightenment :)

Genius Happens in the Gaps

secular sociopath said...

Thats a very positive take on the QLC thing...appreciate the solutions provided..
but from where i am looking at it, its much bigger than this..much bigger than just being successful/rich/famous/important etc..
hasnt nebody ever felt wat after i am successful, wouldnt this QLC turn into a MLC, mid life crisis????

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