The Young Identity Crisis

Thoughts • by Sven Reifschneider • 13 March 2016 • 1 comment
#life #future

Who am I? Who do I want to be? Where should and will my path lead? Where do I see myself in 1, 5, 10 years? These are the questions constantly swirling in my mind. It's a familiar state for many of my peers. The personal crisis when nearing the end of studies, when it's time to establish one's life. What pop psychology affectionately calls the Quarter Life Crisis plagues many, sooner or later. Some in their early twenties, others in the mid or late twenties.

We want to keep our options open. Not commit too much. Because who knows what the future holds? Was studying the right choice? Was this right? Was that right? What's right or wrong anyway? It's easy to get lost in endless questions. But the answers are elusive.

This is an appeal to myself. An appeal to my peers. People lovingly called "twentysomethings" who don't know what to do with their lives.

Finding Answers

We need to find answers. Or do we? I'm not sure. Lately, I've been constantly asking myself various questions. Have I chosen the right path? Who do I want to be? How do I want to look? What do I want to achieve? A good friend of mine goes further, questioning why we need to achieve anything in life. Why we need to learn and do things at all. But I'm not willing to go that far.

Many of these philosophical questions are poison for individuals like me, who tend to overthink everything. These are questions we can't just answer easily, write down, and be done with. We need to embark on a quest for answers.

I always preach "Just do it". I believe this is also the right approach here. A rough concept and then just go for it – try, fail, get up, keep going. If we periodically reflect on ourselves, nothing can go wrong. If we notice we're on the wrong path, that it doesn't fulfill us or is unsuitable for us in some other way, then we choose another path.

We Dare Too Little

Fear, directly or indirectly, dictates our lives. I'll turn 21 next month and already see people in my circle lamenting about never having done this or that.

And that's exactly the problem. We need to stop making excuses. Stop living someone else's life or deceiving ourselves. We only have this one life. And it should be lived.

What's the worst that can happen? In most cases, very little. I want to see the world. So I take the time and travel. I want a job that brings me joy. So I explore my interests and look for one. And what if I don't like the city I traveled to? What if I don't like the job I picked? Then that's how it is. Then I'll travel to another city or look for another job.

Perhaps we're simply overwhelmed with options. There are no traditional paths anymore. Or rather, they end with the completion of training or studies. Then the vast world of work awaits. It's easy to feel lost.

I Can't Do That!

I often hear myself and others say this. I can't do that. That's not possible. But why? Because we're standing in our own way. We have dreams. But we build a wall of excuses and made-up reasons in front of them, obscuring the dreams.

I constantly remind myself that I need to wake up. We need to wake up. We need to realize some things.

We are somewhere in life. Where exactly, I can't say. As a "twentysomething," it's hard for me to judge. But we're here because we chose to be. Complaining has become a national pastime. Not happy with the job. The girlfriend doesn't fit. The apartment is too small. The apartment is too big. The grass is always greener somewhere else.

It's important to remember that all of this stems from our decisions. We have a lot of freedom in life. No one forces us into this job. No one forces us to live in this apartment. No one forces us to be in a relationship. Of course, there are many dependencies in life. But we're still young. We don't have many obligations yet.

And it's not too hard to figure out what you really want to do with your life.

Catching Up on Adolescence

We go through childhood, then puberty. But not everything runs smoothly. I've been retrospectively examining my own adolescence and noticed a few things.

There are aspects of personal development that I missed. Things I never did. Ways of thinking that could have been different.

Now, I'm still young and have opportunities. I want and will manually catch up on some aspects of personal development and adolescence. I believe this is the right path.

Oliver Emberton gave a very interesting and informative answer on How can I figure out what I really want to do with my life after college?. He writes: "Time to grow up and give yourself a better childhood". I fully agree. The other answers in this Quora thread are also very good and have helped me progress in finding answers.

Chasing the Übermensch

We strive to meet societal ideals. Oliver Stolle hits the nail on the head in his article War’s das schon? in Neon Magazine. The ideal image of a thirty-year-old. He's experienced a lot, lived a lot, has everything under control, an interesting job, plenty of time for friends, a good-looking partner, and of course, a child. But as Stolle writes, it remains an ideal. An Übermensch, unattainable. Comparisons always fall short.

Maybe we should chase ourselves rather than an Übermensch, and create our own life. In today's society, except for a few exceptions, it's not possible to realize such a mix.

Many people eventually settle into a defined life. A steady partner, their own apartment. They slide into societal mediocrity. Working weekdays, tired in the evenings, with only weekends and a partner demanding time as the main social interaction.

But it can be different. Even though many questions remain open, I've already decided I don't ever want to lead such a lifestyle.

The Red Thread

A good friend once said something very wise to me:

You are the red thread in your life. Imagine your life as a timeline, a red thread. The only person who is consistently there from beginning to end is you. Not even your parents, your friends will accompany you from start to finish.

All the people we interact with are only a section in our lives. This might be a large part, but it doesn't have to be. What matters is what we do. What we want. Even if it seems a bit egocentric.

A Conclusion

I don't know if a conclusion can be formed for all my questions. Like many, I'm in an identity crisis. I ask myself a lot. Think about what I want to do with my life. But perhaps this is more a long process that one must go through. And this can and should be encouraged and pushed forward. Life is too short to live only in the subjunctive. Because only what we actually do counts.

Through all these questions, I might be making it more complicated than it really is. I just need to dare. Change. Move forward. Embrace new opportunities. Not procrastinate. I am young. We are young. Let's live life!

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Sven Reifschneider
About the author

Sven Reifschneider

Greetings! I'm Sven, a tech innovator and enthusiastic photographer from scenic Wetterau, near the vibrant Frankfurt/Rhein-Main area. This blog is where I fuse my extensive tech knowledge with artistic passion to craft stories that captivate and enlighten. Leading Neoground, I push the boundaries of AI consulting and digital innovation, advocating for change that resonates through community-driven technology.

Photography is my portal to expressing the ephemeral beauty of life, blending it seamlessly with technological insights. Here, art meets innovation, each post striving for excellence and sparking conversations that inspire.

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11 Feb 2018, 19:30

Dieser Artikel ist wirklich gut geschrieben und hat mich sehr motiviert! Ich befinde mich momentan in der Situation, dass ich Angst habe, einen falschen Weg eingeschlagen zu haben oder etwas zu verpassen. Dabei bin ich Anfang 20! Theoretisch steht mir die ganze Welt offen, aber praktisch fühlt es sich nicht so an.
Ich denke, dass ich mir den Artikel in Zukunft noch oft durchlesen und hoffentlich meinen Weg finden werde.
Danke fürs Veröffentlichen!