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Will the pandemic hit 25-year-olds particularly hard?

When I was 15 I thought that by 25 I would be successful, confident, and travel the world. Also, I imagined that I would make a lot of money at that age. Unfortunately, none of it came. On the contrary: In many ways it seems to me that I now know less what I'm doing than when I was 15. Some of us refer to this phenomenon as a quarter life crisis. This is an introspective time full of existential fears and unanswerable questions about the meaning and purpose of life, which usually occurs between the middle and late twenties (it seems that this assumes that we will be 100 years old). Although this crisis is not as well known as the midlife crisis, it has been talked about for decades. However, some experts say that the current pandemic has made this particular phase of life even more stressful. Over the past year we have suffered terrible losses - from lives to jobs to security - which, according to therapist Caitlin Arthur, has created a crisis of its own. "A quarter-life crisis is characterized by uncertainty," she tells Refinery29 and adds: "By definition, the pandemic is also an uncertain time." During such a crisis, people often question their previous professional careers and have relationship problems - whether with a partner, family members or friends - and are financially stressed, she says. COVID-19 has also brought all these areas of life to the fore and taken away the feeling of control over our lives. With this in mind, the question arises: Aren't we all going through some kind of quarter-life crisis? Angela Mastrogiacomo thinks that is actually the case. “When I was in my mid to late twenties, I had this urge to have to be clear about everything - and that very quickly,” the founder of The Blossom Agency and Muddy Paw PR tells us. “Now at 32, almost 33, I'm experiencing all of this all over again in a completely different way.” Instead of thinking about what to do with her degree or which city to move to, Mastrogiacomo now asks himself whether the decade-long career choice is still the right one for you and what your future might look like. “For 15 years I was convinced that I would never have children,” she says. In the past year, however, her opinion changed. “I've been trying to trace the exact time during the pandemic that this switch threw me, and I'm not sure. I think that through my fears, being locked in at home and reevaluating everything in my life, I started rethinking my motherhood decision, ”she says. “That felt very strange and really unsettling. After all, so far my whole identity - at least a large part of it, really - has been tied to [not having children]. But then the pandemic turned everything upside down and I suddenly wondered who I was anyway. It all freaked me out. ”Arthur explains that the feelings created by the pandemic are very similar to the quarter life crisis. While this is similar to the midlife crisis, it differs from it in many ways. While the former is more present and future-oriented (fear of falling behind schedule or not being able to achieve goals), the latter has more to do with the past and is characterized by a period of reflection on past achievements and sadness or uncertainty about Aging off. Over the past year, many people have felt like they were losing or running out of time, which is "typical of a quarter-life crisis," says Arthur. “With our lives on hold right now, we feel like we're stuck. That only makes the problem worse. ”We're all going through a lot right now. But being in your mid-20s right now can be a unique challenge. A significant number of young adults have moved back into their parents' homes due to the pandemic. You are unable to meet friends under normal circumstances, meet new people or develop a professional network - all during a phase of life that is usually particularly sociable. The fact that we are not allowed to travel or no longer need to go to the office has led to us feeling stuck and immobile. We are tied to the computer screen while we are working or looking for work. This is related to one of the main causes of the quarter life crisis: job security. The belief that hard work equates to job security has been proven wrong. Instead, the pandemic has made it clear to us that the dream job no longer exists and that we are better off if we prioritize our lives instead of our work. That may sound gloomy, but in a way it is. The uncertainty we are all feeling right now, however, can draw our attention to something valuable: further development. "The pandemic has put us in such fear that we feel immobile in many ways," says Mastrogiacomo. “I think that it was also a trigger for rethinking everything possible in our life.” If you have to struggle with the same challenges that characterize a quarter life crisis - no matter how old you are - there are there are ways to overcome this crisis. Therapy can be very helpful here, says Arthur. “Therapists can help you see your living conditions from a new perspective,” she says. But she also thinks it's very important to spend less time on social media. "Watching other people's highlights when you already feel like you're behind or you should have achieved more than you actually did is not good for you," says Arthur. For the same reason, she suggests taking stock of your performance more often. This is how you can lower your overly critical inner voice. After all, you should also exchange ideas with other people who are doing just like you. Also try new hobbies or volunteer activities, recommends Arthur. “A lot of people work eight hours a day, have dinner, go to bed, and do the same thing the next day,” says Arthur. According to her, it “can be very helpful to ensure a well-structured everyday life.” It doesn't matter whether you describe this time full of uncertainty and existential questions as a collective quarter-life, an early mid-life crisis or simply a crisis in general want - the one thing that you should keep in mind, and perhaps bring you comfort, is that we are not alone with this feeling of being lost. "We are all striving to get through these tough times and we wish [the pandemic] had never happened," says Mastrogiacomo. “We've gone through a lot of bad things in the past few months. But there is a ray of hope: The fact that I had the opportunity to rethink and reassess my previous life will mean that my future decisions will be different from what was planned before the pandemic. As soon as everything returns to normal, I'll be better off than before. ”Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Long-COVID: the problem nobody talks about Corona rules & friendships clash Do we have to look good after the lockdown?