Many labels have been put on millennials — microwave generation, self-entitled generation, the woke generation — which may be true but even then, I hope we understand our youths. I hope we understand we are in a new generation and people speak about their feelings more. People want a wholesome life so satisfaction in their work is key. This is the generation that questions everything including religion.
This is also the generation having a hard time dealing with quarter life crisis. Depression and suicide is common among our young people. According to a WHO research done in 2017 the major cause of death for people between 15-29 years is suicide as a result of depression.
You hit 25 and you realize they lied to you. They said we would have great jobs after going to college; that we would be on our way now to having our first child. They being everyone who said the process was high school, college, job, marriage. They also being everyone who said this is a great course, guarantees you job once done. You start wondering if you are now too old to become the person you wanted to be. You wonder when you missed the train yet you never left the station.
It’s a painful passage to adulthood. You cannot go back home because people are looking up to you.
You have done numerous interviews and spent most of your time filling online job applications. Your girlfriend/boyfriend is going through the same and that strains your relationship so talk of relationship woes on top of unemployment. I mean can’t one just go perfectly well?
You get a call from a recruiting agency, so they don’t disclose the company or much about the job until you go in for the interview. Light at the end of the tunnel it seems, until the light is dimmed when you realize the kind of job you and twenty others are interviewing for. It wasn’t worth you getting in more debt to get fare. You also don’t get it, you’re overqualified!
Your relatives fill your WhatsApp with job applications. Some turn out to be a scam but you apply anyway. They call to check on you until you have exhausted all of them with incessant borrowing. They stop picking your calls and just forward jobs applications.
Misery loves company so you do not hang out with former classmates who got absorbed as graduate trainees, you decide to hang out with those struggling. Friendships die, it’s part of adulting you say, hence no one to talk to but social media where you tweet all day your miseries.
Another case scenario is settling for the job that comes your way. “Hey take the job, nobody in this Nairobi is doing what they studied in college.” Common advice. The pay is insulting but hey at least you can pay bills and save a little. Months in, your energy is depleted, you hate your job, you hate your life but there is no way out.
You try everything but depression kicks in. You talk with your fellow friends, most in the same situation but no way out. You get to work late, miss job some days with a great excuse and spend the day in bed.
The quarter life crisis can be triggered by anything from work, relationships or lack of it. Societal expectations makes it worse as we are reminded of our failures every time auntie asks where the hubby or wife is or the subtle way people ask how is life while they really don’t care they just want to know if you are doing better financially.
I don’t think quarter life crisis is something new. I just feel it is leveled up now because of the presence of social media. Peers showing the life they want us to see and us believing they are doing better, you know, the comparison game.
I have faced the crisis. I have had days I doubt my ability to do something great. Days I hate my job and just want to quit. There are days I want to leave and start my own thing. These are the slow days, when I am having a bad day or something small happens and triggers all the emotions.
There are days I wonder what my peers are doing that I am not doing so I can also succeed. Days when I will be reading articles and then come across young people killing it in the game and feel a certain type of way. I however realized that having these moments is okay but I cannot dwell on them. A few things that have helped me navigate through the crisis are;
Acknowledging my Feelings
I feel the moment. Accepting I am not where I want to be and deciding to do better. I put down my goals on where I want to be in the next few months or one year. Then after, I put down the necessary moves needed to accomplish that and start small.
During my dark days I remind myself whose I am. I go deep in the word and let it all out. I am a daughter of a king. Be still. I am making everything new. I read and listen to God. Worship music and tears also is a remedy for me. I put on stickers on my wall if I have to, of God’s promises to me.
Not Comparing Myself with Others
Remember some people make it when they are young and others later. I am learning to clap for them and wish them well. Then I define my own path and what success means to me and enjoy the process, embracing the failures. Steven Furtick in one of his sermons shared that, failure is a fertilizer let it grow you.
Choosing to See Good in Everything.
Putting strong emphasis on choice because bad things will happen and how you receive and react to them determines a lot. Everything happens for a reason, I remind myself. I remind myself that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord. Trust me, I have had bad experiences in the last one quarter but I am surprised on how strong I have come out.
Look for the lessons, they are always there in the bad experiences. Sometimes we lose the things/people we thought we couldn’t do without to be reminded of our source. We even lose things so we can get better ones, trust me on this, been there done that.
Having Quiet Time
This wasn’t really a choice but something I had to do before I lost my mind. Turning off distractions and just listening to myself. No phone just quiet moment reflecting on where I am and where I want to be. This is sacred.
I was looking out the window in a matatu the other day and i saw many people walking fast past each other. Their lives seemed so busy and I knew I was one of those people and felt I can do better when I get a minute.
So you are not alone, do not let depression creep in, always strive to have that positive thought. Do not worry for you do not add a day to your life by worrying.
Trust, believe and take that one step a day at a time till you are where you need to be. It gets better, things will not always be as they are.