Change Your Geography, Change Your Attitude
If you’re a young professional, you’re probably not surprised by the idea of a “quarter-life crisis.” You’ve probably experienced this ever-growing phenomenon yourself. You’re not completely satisfied by your job, you’re not sure what to do with your life, you see your friends and family moving on with their own, and you’re stuck in a perpetual state of confusion about who you are. Older people may regard the idea of such a crisis as a joke, but we know that such a thing is all-too-real.
If this sounds familiar, you’re probably wondering how to make a change. The common way out is to look for a new job. A lot of times, this can be immensely helpful, especially if you’re already settled in your personal life and you’re happy with your current industry. But for many, getting a new job probably won’t help. A lot of young professionals are saddled with curiosity about how their lives might be if they were to just get up, move somewhere, and start over.
I’m sure you’ve wondered how your life would be if you did the same? Tell me I’m wrong.
For most, this is just a fantasy – something to dreamily ponder while you’re writing your TPS report at work. Most people will never actually get to the point of walking away from their friends, family, comfortable (but probably boring) job, and everything else in their current life in an effort to push themselves out of their comfort zone and start something brand new.
My suggestion: don’t be “that guy” (or girl, whatever).
Change your location
If you’re really uncomfortable with your current life and you know that a small change won’t help, try picking up your things and heading to a different part of the world. Your move doesn’t have to be drastic – I’m not suggesting you go from California to Malaysia, or even from Los Angeles to DC. All you need to do is get yourself to a place where things will be unfamiliar and you’ll be forced to meet new people, make new friends, discover new places, and find yourself a bit. It truly is amazing what a change of scenery can do for your personal life. Oftentimes, after a couple of months in your new location, you’ll feel a new sense of purpose and inspiration (not to mention happiness) that you just wouldn’t have gotten from your old life. Don’t be surprised to suddenly find yourself with a renewed sense of determination and a new set of goals that you’re extremely motivated to work towards.
But if you do decide to pack your bags and buy that plane ticket, use a little common sense. If you’re not the type of person that can easily meet new people, try to join a program in your new destination that will naturally lead to you making new friends. You could try changing jobs with your current company, starting school, moving through your religious group, or placing into a service organization. Just make sure that you set yourself up to succeed at your new location.
On the same note, it would be smart for you to have something lined up at your new location before you actually went out there. The appeal of moving to Europe and spending two months looking for a job is undeniable. But after the six month mark rolls around and you find yourself with a depleted bank account and an eviction notice, you may start to wonder what you were thinking. At least have some sort of plan for what you’ll do when you get to your new hometown.
Finally, make sure you’re ready to deal with the loss of daily contact with people you’re used to seeing every day. Even though you’re itching for a change, you probably have several key people in your life that you need to keep in touch with, so be prepared to make an effort to periodically reach out to them. It will be tough not seeing them as often as you’re used to, and you’ll definitely miss them, but if the move is worth it (and deep down you’ll know if it is or isn’t), then it’s a necessary hassle.
There’s no doubt in my mind that moving to a new place and “starting fresh” is well worth it for some people. You’ll know if it’s for you or not. If you’ve always wondered whether you should do it, my suggestion would be to give it a try. If you’re not tied down to your current city, have the flexibility to try something new, and have the guts to get out of your comfort zone, it’s something you won’t regret. Even if you find that you don’t like your new “home,” ten years from now you probably won’t regret having tried it.
Moving won’t solve all your problems, and it’s not the best way to deal with unsolvable issues, but it is a great way to discover who you really are and find out what you truly value, not to mention, if you set yourself up for a successful move, it can be a lot of fun.
Give it a shot and let us know how things turned out for you.