How to Survive a Quarter-Life Crisis and Find Your True Purpose
During my quarter-life crisis, I felt paralyzed to make a change. I felt like I was at the intersection of hopeless, stuck, and FOMO (or fear of missing out).
I said to myself, “I hate my job and I want to do something else, but I don’t know where to start. I’m interested in so many things, but none of them seem perfect. All my friends on Facebook are so happy and successful. My friend is a Forbes 30 Under 30. My buddy is traveling around Thailand. My friend just got engaged. I’m tired of being single. I’m a failure.”
Everything feels impossible during a quarter-life crisis, even small decisions like which shampoo to buy, or which show to watch on Netflix.
But the five simple steps below helped me get through that period of intense confusion—and eventually, find my true purpose. I hope these tips will be helpful as you discover yours.
Stop the comparisons
Social media has made it all but impossible to avoid comparing yourself to others. We see only the coolest parts of our friends’ lives, like when they get a new job, fall in love, or travel somewhere beautiful. We think, “Wow, I really need to get my act together.” All of us are figuring it out, even our friends whose Instagram grass looks really green. All of us are on different paths, with no right or wrong answer. Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time. Stop worrying about what other people think and start figuring out what you want.
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Pursue what’s meaningful to you
If you want to turn your quarter-life crisis into a breakthrough, you have to stop focusing on everyone else’s noise, and start asking yourself why you’re here. What do you care most about? What do you want to do for the world? What are you really good at? What types of people do you want to surround yourself with? How much money do you need to live your desired lifestyle? I call this finding alignment between who you are and how you’re spending your days.
Turn your doubt into action
When I was stuck in my old job, fear of the unknown often kept me up all night. This doubt never really goes away, but I’ve learned that we can turn our doubts into research, into positive energy that takes us closer to our next lily pad. If you write your doubts and fears on paper, you can begin to take tangible action steps toward figuring out what’s next in your life. This might mean reading a book that interests you, signing up for a class, launching a crowdfunding campaign for a creative project, starting a blog, attending a cool conference or event, traveling somewhere you always wanted to go, having coffee with a mentor, or pursuing an apprenticeship or volunteer opportunity that excites you.
Find a community of people who believe in the beauty of your dreams
Surviving a quarter-life crisis is the result of both hard work and finding the right people to support your journey. You can’t do it alone. Building a community of believers is the difference between your breakthrough being a dream and a dream come true. So, start finding people who make you better. People who inspire you; who are creative, who are living for others, who hold you accountable. Depending on where you live, believers might be easy or incredibly difficult to find. Attend conferences, ask your network for ideas, and use social media to find local meet-up groups based on your interests.
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Practice weekly self-care rituals
When I was stuck in my quarter-life crisis, overworked and stressed, I definitely wasn’t taking care myself—and I got shingles! I didn’t give myself time to eat well, see friends, meditate, write in my journal, or exercise. If you don’t take care of your body, it’s nearly impossible to reach your goals or help anyone else reach theirs. Finding your purpose doesn’t translate to applying to as many to jobs online as you possibly can. Finding your purpose means spending time doing the things you love, with the people you love most. It also means learning how to be kind to yourself. So, what are three things you can do to be kind to yourself this week? Think about ways you can treat yourself, take care of yourself, and create yourself.
If you’re lucky, practicing self-love might even bring you closer to the purpose you’ve been searching for.
Adapted from The Quarter-Life Breakthrough: Invent Your Own Path, Find Meaningful Work, and Build a Life That Matters by Adam Smiley Poswolsky, available from TarcherPerigee/Penguin Random House. Subscribe for more career resources at smileyposwolsky.com.
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The Upper Limit of Human Lifespan May Be 125 Years, Study Suggests
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 5, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Hoping science might help you live to be 200? Sorry, new research suggests that might now be impossible.
U.S. researchers pored over the data on human longevity and concluded that people's life spans may have nearly hit their limit.
That doesn't mean more people won't be living to very old ages—just probably not much beyond the record age of 122, the researchers said.
"Further progress against infectious and chronic diseases may continue boosting average life expectancy, but not maximum life span," said study senior author Jan Vijg, chair of genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
As the researchers noted, average life expectancy has risen substantially since the 19th century due to improvements in diet, public health and other areas.
For example, babies born in the United States today can expect to live until age 79, while the average life expectancy for those born in 1900 was only 47 years, the study authors said.
And since the 1970s, the ages of the oldest people worldwide have also increased. A French woman named Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997, had the longest documented life span of any person in history at 122 years.
In the new review, Vijg's team tracked data from the Human Mortality Database, which looks at statistics on deaths and other population data from more than 40 countries.
The researchers found that the percentage of people who lived to enjoy old age kept climbing from 1900 onward.
However, for people who made it to the 100-year mark, survival after that birthday didn't really budge much, regardless of what year the person was born. Their age at death did rise a bit between the 1970s and early 1990s, but seems to have leveled out since then, the study found.
"This finding indicates diminishing gains in reducing late-life mortality and a possible limit to human life span," Vijg said in a school news release.
So, based on current data, his team believes the average maximum human life span is 115 years, and that the absolute limit of human life span will be 125 years.
And the probability of any one person worldwide reaching age 125 in a given year is less than one in 10,000, Vijg and his colleagues said.
"Demographers as well as biologists have contended there is no reason to think that the ongoing increase in maximum life span will end soon," Vijg said. "But our data strongly suggest that it has already been attained and that this happened in the 1990s.
"While it's conceivable that therapeutic breakthroughs might extend human longevity beyond the limits we've calculated, such advances would need to overwhelm the many genetic variants that appear to collectively determine the human life span," he explained.
"Perhaps resources now being spent to increase life span should instead go to lengthening 'health span'—the duration of old age spent in good health," Vijg added.
The study was published online Oct. 5 in the journal Nature.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on life expectancy.
When You Cry At Work, This Is What Happens
If you’re a baby, bursting into a puddle of tears (in public or in private) helps you get what you want. But if you’re a grown-up, crying at work will only get you left behind, a new study suggests.
In a series of three experiments, published in the British Journal of Social Psychology, researchers asked about 1,000 people their impression of a person in a photograph. In one photo, the person had visible tears on their cheek—making it obvious that they were crying—or showed no tears, because they’d been digitally removed. The presence of a tear made all the difference; people perceived the tearful person as sadder, warmer—but also less competent—than the very same person when the tears had been edited out. People looking at the photos said they were more likely to approach a tearful person to offer help than one without tears.
But in another experiment in the study, people were shown the photographs and asked a different question: “If you would arrive at work, and your manager asks you to finish an important project that afternoon, would you like to do that with this person?”
People in the study said they wanted to approach the woman in the photo to see if they could help, but weren’t too eager to work with her on a big project. “It seems that people who cry are seen as less competent persons in general,” says Niels van de Ven, associate professor in marketing at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and one of the authors of the study. “We did not give reasons about why people were crying, but still, it reflects badly on their perceived competence.”
Why adults cry has been a mystery to scientists for centuries, as TIME recently reported. One prominent theory is that crying signals to others an inability to cope with something happening at that moment, and tears trigger bystanders’ desire to help. Several studies, including this one, have shown that tears do compel people to approach someone who’s crying. But the new work shows that the effects of those tears are not all positive and may depend on context. “Work is definitely a place where crying seems to be not really appreciated,” van de Ven says. “Work is a setting where typically everything is about competence.”
Thankfully, though, the office is not the most popular spot to cry. In one comprehensive survey, 74% of people said the last place they cried was at home, while only 6% reported crying at work or school. Wondering how your crying habits measure up to the those of your colleagues? Take our quiz to find out what kind of crier you are.
This article originally appeared on Time.com.