Is quarter-life crisis really a thing?

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25 GOING ON 50: More and more millennials are finding themselves stuck in a quarter-life crisis — but what even is a quarter-life crisis, and how can we move forward from there?

HOW TO BE HAPPY: Everyone wants to be happy in life, but research shows that maybe happiness shouldn’t be our life’s goal anymore.

PICTURE OF THE DAY: Everyone got a little touch-starved during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Here’s how a lack of touch affects our mental health and how we all coped with it.

25 GOING ON 50

The Big Idea:
More and more millennials are finding themselves stuck in a quarter-life crisis — but what even is a quarter-life crisis, and how can we move forward from there?

When you’re lost and alone

In your twenties and struggling to find meaning in life? You might be going through a quarter-life crisis (it’s like a midlife crisis, except you’re only 25). But don’t worry, you’re not the only one! A 2017 LinkedIn survey showed that 75% of respondents aged 25 to 33 years old have experienced a quarter-life crisis at some point or were experiencing one at the time.

I don’t wanna grow up

Adulting is hard — you’re done with school and you’ve (maybe) got a job but then you look around and realise you’re somehow still falling behind. Your friends are already super successful or even starting families and you’re still just kind of floating around with no clue as to where you’re going or how you’re going to get there. Cue the quarter-life crisis and the stress, anxiety, and self-loathing that comes along with it.

How to get back in the game

If any of this sounds familiar to you, here’s a few steps you can take to ease the load you’re carrying on your shoulders:

  • Find the root of the problem.
    Are you worried about disappointing other people or doubting your ability to take on a big project? If you’re stuck in a rut, try and figure out what exactly is holding you back so you can start breaking down those barriers.
  • Back up your daydreams with research.
    Figure out what you want to do in life and find out what you need to do to get there. Once you have a plan, it’ll be easier for you to take steps towards actually reaching your goals.
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people.
    We all go through life at our own pace, so give yourself a break and appreciate where you are right now instead of thinking about where you think you should be in life.
SNIPPETS

5 Singaporean stories to catch up on

1️⃣ Worried about the Covid-19 variants? Experts believe the vaccines currently available will still be effective against them.

2️⃣ Miss going to pasar malams? Many vendors have opened permanent stalls, and they need your support!

3️⃣ A one-woman dough: Hiro Bakehouse, along Balestier Road, is run single-handedly by Irvin Ong, and only sells three types of bread.

4️⃣ Making Chinatown safe: In the leadup to Chinese New Year, stallholders, shop owners, and food industry workers in Chinatown will undergo strict Covid-19 testing.

5️⃣ Vaccine Part 2: Healthcare workers from the National Centre of Infectious Diseases (NCID) have now received their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

And 5 facts to spice up your life:

1️⃣ Spreading more than just germs: Research shows that emotions, just like viruses, can be spread from person to person.

2️⃣ Convenient parenting: In Japan, you can now buy diapers and baby formula out of vending machines.

3️⃣ For the sticker-lovers: Researchers at the University of California San Diego are developing a colour-changing sticker that can detect the presence of Covid-19 in a person’s saliva or breath.

4️⃣ If you’re scared of LASIK: ‘Smart glasses’ from Japan that can correct near-sightedness are coming to the rest of Asia.

5️⃣ No more second-guessing: Researchers in Australia and China have developed a blood test that can diagnose depression and bipolar disorder.

HOW TO BE HAPPY

The Big Idea:
Everyone wants to be happy in life, but research shows that maybe happiness shouldn’t be our life’s goal anymore.

Don’t worry, be happy

We all want to be happy, right? We all want to find happiness so much that we even have a World Happiness Report, so we know just who the happiest people in the world are. (As of last year, that would be the people of Helsinki, Finland. Singapore’s down the line at #49, but hey, it could be worse. Lesotho, in South Africa, and Venezuela ranked bottom 2 in the list.)

Being happy can make you worried

New studies have emerged showing that the pursuit of happiness is often pretty counterproductive. It makes us anxious and even lonely at times. Being hyper-focused on trying to be happy can also prevent you from actually enjoying the moment you’re in. So maybe it’s time for us to rethink our goals of finding happiness.

Going beyond happiness

Perhaps the answer lies in how we actually define happiness. Studies show that it varies based on geography (which makes an international ranking of happiness a pretty weird thing to have). Typically, the West is full of thrill-seekers and freedom-lovers, while Easterners tend to base happiness on more social and collective factors.

While the Western version of happiness does play a part in our general wellbeing, it might be time for us all to follow the ways of the East for a little bit. Practicing mindfulness and gratitude has been becoming more and more popular lately, and these are rooted in the Eastern definition of happiness, which is less about pleasure, and more about meaning.

We should also remember that being happy doesn’t mean feeling happy every moment of every day. Balance is always important, and negative emotions, while not very fun to experience in the moment, can usually contribute to our well-being if handled properly.

SHOWER THOUGHTS

Weird & Wonderful

  1. The “Black Cat Crossing Your Path is Bad Luck” thing probably came from tripping over them in the dark.
  2. Snoring in ads for cold medicine is seen as negative, but snoring in ads for sleep medicine is seen as positive.
  3. Head lice on a balding man would have to worry about habitat loss.
  4. “I don’t use social media” is the new “I don’t have a TV”.
  5. Every choice you make either brings you closer to death or stalls you from it just a little longer.
PICTURE OF THE DAY

Image of Shelby Pavelka, a teacher in Indiana, gets ready to give quarantine hugs to her students.

The Big Idea:
Everyone got a little touch-starved during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Here’s how a lack of touch affects our mental health and how we all coped with it.

Losing touch

It seems like such a small thing, but lots of us missed hugs a lot while we were in quarantine, even the people who weren’t “big huggers” found themselves longing for human touch. We’ve probably got our fill again here in Singapore, but not every country gets to be so lucky.

Why we need hugs

Skin hunger, or affection deprivation, is something all humans experience, and it’s literally wired into us. The human body has a bunch of nerves known as C-tactile afferents, which activate the parts of the brain that are linked to reward. Touch can affect our dopamine levels and also release serotonin, which makes us happy. In fact, BBC’s Touch Test showed that the top three words used to describe touch are “comforting”, “warm” and “love”.

Studies have shown that a lack of touch can result in stress, anxiety, loneliness, and also depression.

Getting creative

To get by while we wait for the pandemic to end, people have been coming up with creative ways to stay in touch with the people they love. The picture above shows how a teacher in Indiana set up a safe way to hug her students last year. Similar photos have been making the rounds since in the past year as well. In addition, while nothing beats in-person contact, virtual chats have been doing people a world of good in a time when social isolation has become a necessity.

If you’re alone in lockdown, hang in there! And in the meantime, we’re sending you as many virtual hugs as we can.

Vanessa

Vanessa is a go-getter and knowledge-seeker with way too many hobbies. On weekends, she can be found enjoying a lie-in and pretending she doesn't have anything else she should be doing.