The 20's existential crisis...

Our whole childhood and adolescent lives,  until we hit our early-20's, we are told what to do. We are told when to wake up, what to eat, when to take breaks, which classes to attend, etc. Our lives are scheduled by teachers and parents, our after school programs are planned, and the only free time is on weekends, maybe.

Fast forward to a life post-college, where the only thing on your schedule is an eight hour 9-5 work schedule. The routine of waking up and going to work is still there, but now there is a novel, previously unheard of concept - free time. What does one do with this newly found lack of schedule? The joy and excitement of free time quickly turns into... is this all there is to life? Wake up, work, come home... rinse & repeat?

The thoughts of "this can't be the rest of my adult life" start to plague you and that's when the quarter-life existential crisis sinks in.  This often leads to an intense drive, you're motivated more now than you've ever been to be fulfilled. To know that there is more to life than this mundane existence. What happens next is what you make of it. Here is what I've seen happen:

a) You capitalize on this motivation and build momentum. You experience accelerated growth and explore new heights in your career, relationships, emotional & spiritual growth

b) You are unable to turn the drive and motivation into concrete actions & plans. The drive eventually wears off and is replaced by complacency over time.

So, what are the key differences between the two? What are the separators, you ask. The factors that separate those who are able to capitalize and grow exponentially can be broken down into 3 main lifestyle changes: 

1) Read -

Not just that new thriller by James Patterson, but explore new topics you would normally never think of reading. Pick up that gardening book or maybe that barbecue cook-book simply because you know you love to eat it. By exposing yourself to books outside of your "comfort zone," you discover new parts of yourself. By discovering new parts of yourself, you are one step closer to forming your hobbies and possibly finding that passion that ignites your soul. 


2) Work Out

Why on earth would physical exertion translate into something that transforms you spiritually and emotionally? Yea, I don't get it either but trust me on this one. Humans are habitual by nature... it's ingrained in our DNA to find routine. By setting a gym routine for even 30 mins a day, 3-5 times a week, you are wiring your brain to be accountable to yourself and your commitments. But here's the thing, if you tell yourself you are going to the gym 4 times a week for the next week - follow through and do it! This follow through is what helps you build trust in yourself and this trust will impact bigger endeavors. When you trust yourself, you're willing to take more risks because there is less doubt in your abilities. Perhaps, you will finally find the courage to pursue that brilliant business idea you've let self-doubt get in the way of pursuing. Try not to let yourself down, but since were all human, it will happen. When it does, FORGIVE and LOVE yourself and try again!


3) Look Inside -

That empty or unfulfilled feeling can test everyone at some point of time or another. This feeling is often mistaken by "loneliness" and we are quick to try to fill the void with another person. Who can blame us after all? Since birth, being alone is rarely experienced. We are surrounded by parents or family members in childhood through adolescence. To be alone during childhood meant you were neglected or abandoned and that feeling still resides in our subconscious as pain and fear of that pain.  When you fear being alone, emptiness and heartbreak are avoided at all cost. But, to grow, you have to embrace the discomfort. Rather than looking externally and getting your source of replenishment from people and relationships, I challenge you to do the opposite... look inside! Don't get me wrong, that is not to say that relationships and people cannot be a source of fulfillment; the right relationship will accelerate your growth and help you find your Purpose. But, depending on someone to fill a void inside of you for happiness, love, or peace is nothing more than a dependency. The best part of looking inside? You will find that the closer you get to knowing your true Self, the more guided you are by your inner source (a.k.a - intuition, gut instinct, higher power, spirit, soul) This takes mindfulness and conscious effort to not fall prey to feelings of loneliness, but rather embracing and leaning in to this feeling to get to know yourself. When you are guided by your own inner compass, you are naturally drawn to your passions and make choices that fulfill your higher purpose. 


I hope this helps you on your journey to finding fulfillment and living your best life? Have questions or comments? Feel free to reach out!

-Ankitha Gadag