Now more than ever, we’re all feeling stuck, uninspired & vulnerable…

The 20s are a weird time — you’re recovering from a teenage hangover, while learning the ropes of ‘adulthood’ — fumbling your way through filing taxes, managing careers & making babies. This is when something particularly odd happens to you.

Amidst a mid-week social media saunter, you learn the ‘overachiever’ in school (AKA the teacher’s pet) landed an eye-watering package with Google in the Bay Area, the stoner now runs a multi-million dollar Crypto startup, where the ‘naive’ nerd is now the CTO. You start digging further — the math geek is heading Harvard’s Black Hole Initiative, the shitface is an ‘Investment Consultant’ at Bank of America and the timidest hombre is a Graduate Fellow at a swanky new Cancer Research centre. You throw your phone aside in frustration and order a brownie to drown your sorrows in.

Welcome to your quarter-life crisis.

A quarter-life crisis can be crippling — it's when you feel you’ve not been ‘true to yourself’, often without a clue about who you’re supposed to be.

It’s when you realise your life isn’t what you dreamt it’ll be. It's a crisis of the self — of self-confidence, self-esteem & self-satisfaction. Our social-media fuelled lives don’t help, and a global pandemic just made it worse.

Now more than ever, we’re feeling stuck, uninspired & vulnerable. Nearly 1 in 5 of us lost our jobs by the end of last year, and half of the Indian millennials surveyed by a foreign bank reported an increase in borrowing in August-September! No wonder, 69% of Indian millennials took time off work due to stress — the lack of job prospects, inability to travel & being forced to stay at home has sent our generation into a tailspin wondering what’s the point of all of our years of hard work.

While I’m (quite clearly) not a Zen Master or a Productivity Jedi, here’s how I managed to stay afloat amidst my ongoing quarter-life crisis.

1. Have A ‘Bad Feeling’ Detector Handy

If you ‘feel good’, you can trick your brain into believing all’s well. And in a way, it is, unless you’re (quite literally) under siege cause of a poor appraisal or a bad day at the gym.

Take yourself out for coffee, get yourself a nice spa or haircut, buy yourself a new pair of cashmere sweaters — anything to grudgingly jog away from your bad feelings. Scout ‘bad feeling’ triggers (*ahem ahem* social media), and ditch them mercilessly.

You can’t mount a counter-attack unless you stop feeling you’re under constant siege. In the words of one of the world’s worst men — ‘build a wall to keep the bad hombres away’.

This might be ‘Masala Salary’ — but its still not an armageddon.

2. Winning Life’s Bar Brawls Before Its Big Bad Wars

Winning at life is like eating an elephant. The way to do it is one bite at a time.

Winning life’s bar brawls — making your own bed, keeping yourself & your washroom clean, feeling satiated & moisturised, keeping yourself & your home smelling amazing will make you feel confident. Try it. It works.

Realise every person is in a different edition of ‘Call Of Duty’ — and since you weren’t their comrade in theirs, you won’t be handed over medals while they win, just as they won’t for yours.

3. Risks On Impulse — YES! Impulse Purchases — NO!

Risks feel amazing — they make you feel you’re living ‘on the edge’ — they make you feel alive. Try the $100 side-hustle you’ve always wanted, get a daily pass at the gym, even if you limp for 10 minutes on the treadmill before you give up. Start learning something new that fascinates you — you’re never too old to start, you’re only too old to get good at it. ;)

None of this will solve all of your life’s self-doubts — but it’ll help you scrape past most days, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Also, the next time you bump into yet another millionaire colleague at a local co-working, mask up, turn up the focus music & keep your eyes on the screen.