I speak to a lot of people in their late 20s or 30s who have done wonderfully in their career, have enjoyed the holidays and romances, and are in a position to buy property. Yet they haven’t become clear on what they really want in life. Or they spend hours agonising but just can’t seem to find that clarity. They constantly stress about what to do with life as they swing from one possibility to another: have kids, remain single, move to the country, find more meaningful work. They lie there at night wondering. In their fear and confusion, they fear later regret. Or that they will miss out. Or that there is no greater sense of meaning to be found. And that someday it will be too late to change things. And of course the clock doesn’t stop ticking.
It’s not that people don’t try to work their way through this. They dream of living without fear or that horrible sense that they're somehow getting it all wrong. They dream of having direction and clarity, and feeling that in their bones.
Like any situation in which panic is tempting, it is important to remember that a lot of people are in your shoes. You are not alone, and there are ways forward. See this as normal and do the things that work.
In fact such a crisis can be a painful but an important part of your life. The heat of fear can become a smelter for forging something better. Perhaps you needed this? It is like a call, albeit a hard one, that important decisions need to be made, and actions taken. And that it all needs to be done wisely. While you fear getting stuck on a bad trajectory, remember that this is the opportunity to create something wonderful. This is the time to determine a more profound direction for your life.
The way forward requires clarifying what really matters in your life, and how you are at your best. Strengths and values - a phrase you will hear me repeat often because it is so important. It is only then that you can focus on action, after you have clarified them and turned them into a plan of life. In hindsight you will discover that the angst drops away as you build a deeper sense of purpose. Treat this crisis as a welcome opportunity. As the forge for creating something substantial out of your life. To people in their 20s and 30s, I'm glad to report that as you sort these things out, if you do so well, you will find that contrary to your fears, the world is a place that comes to meet you and respond to your efforts.