The Mini ‘Dis­as­ter’ Ev­ery Girl Needs

Lost your job, your man or your mar­bles? Well, don’t panic—a quar­ter­life cri­sis can help you set your life back on track, says Natalie Blen­ford.

Cosmopolitan (India) - - YOU, YOU, YOU -

I was 28, fancy-free and about to grad­u­ate from drama school when my quar­ter-life cri­sis hit. And, as so of­ten hap­pens, it only took one small thing to tip me over the edge. Go­ing to the ATM one day, it re­fused to pay out the money I needed for my daily cof­fee. ‘You don’t have suf­fi­cient funds,’ it told me. I tried again—no dice. I pan­icked. And it dawned on me: this was a sym­bol. Ev­ery­thing in my life was wrong.

I was sin­gle, shared a flat with 4 oth­ers, and I was in debt. The ca­reer change from jour­nal­ist to ac­tress that I had em­barked on a year ear­lier had yet to take off, and now even my usual Cap­puc­cino was off-lim­its. Cue ma­jor tears. “My hair is split and greasy,” I wrote in my dairy. “My con­fi­dence is di­min­ish­ing and my so­cial life...well, where is it? As much as I’d like to think there’s a way out, I can’t see it.”

If th­ese feel­ings of doom sound fa­mil­iar, you’re not alone. A new re­search by Green­wich Univer­sity has found that al­most 75% of women aged 26-30 are now ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a ‘quar­ter-life cri­sis’.

“Ev­ery life stage is fraught with anx­i­ety,” says Damian Barr, au­thor of Get It Together: Sur­viv­ing Your Quar­ter­life Cri­sis. “A mid-life cri­sis fo­cuses on the past—‘Have I wasted my life?’—while a quar­ter-life cri­sis is about anx­i­ety for the fu­ture.”

But the good news is that the ex­perts ac­tu­ally be­lieve that a min­imelt­down could ben­e­fit you in a long run. “A quar­ter-life cri­sis won’t af­fect

ev­ery­one,” says Dr Oliver Robin­son, se­nior lec­turer in psy­chol­ogy at Green­wich Univer­sity. “But if you do have one, it’s a chance to get your life back on track. A quar­ter-life cri­sis (or QLC) stops you from just go­ing through the mo­tions, forces you to make choices about what you want and can in­crease your as­sertive­ness.”

Many women can’t kick-start their ca­reers due to eco­nomic cri­sis, and a QLC can be one of the con­se­quences. But in some cases, the cause isn’t so eas­ily iden­ti­fi­able. “I al­ways thought that by this age I’d be sorted in life,” says Gay­a­tri Bohra, 25, a store as­sis­tant. “But that’s not the case. Although noth­ing is ma­jorly wrong with my life, I just don’t feel sat­is­fied. I re­cently split up with my boyfriend and I haven’t bounced back as I’d have done at 18. All my house­mates feel the same—they’re all in their mid-to-late 20s, and start­ing to qui­etly freak out. Alone with my thoughts at night, I panic.”

This kind of QLC can be harder to face up to. But it’s more com­mon than you may think. “At all stages of our lives, we have to ask ques­tions,” says Damian. “But you need to let go of what you once ex­pected to achieve. At 25 you shouldn’t spend all your time look­ing for­ward and back­wards—live in the mo­ment. Ask your­self, ‘Am I in the right job? Am I happy where I’m liv­ing? Is this re­la­tion­ship healthy?’ Worrying is a part of your life nar­ra­tive—just don’t let it con­sume your life.”

For me, there was light at the end of the tun­nel. Three years on from my melt­down mo­ment, I’m credit-card­free, liv­ing with friends, and jug­gling ful­fill­ing ca­reers writ­ing for mag­a­zines and act­ing in plays. In my dark­est mo­ments, I never thought I’d see the other side—but by think­ing pos­i­tive (and work­ing hard), I launched two ca­reers and got my­self through it. I can hon­estly say I’m glad it hap­pened. And hope­fully, if you’re suf­fer­ing your own QLC, you’ll soon be able to say the same.

It all started when she burned

break­fast...

And force­feed­ing him wasn’t help­ing

ei­ther

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