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34 Signs That You’re Having A Quarter-Life Crisis

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34 Signs That You’re Having A Quarter-Life Crisis

Both my parents had mid-life crises. I witnessed them first-hand because they were just a few years ago while I was in college. They both handled them differently. My dad decided that he wanted to be “young and virile,” so he joined a gym, ate lots of salads, and I think he even had a fling or two.

My mom decided that her life had become meaningless. Her job was not fulfilling, she had an empty nest, and she wanted to “find” herself again. So she went back to school and became a paralegal.

They have made it through their crises and are now settled into comfortable lives, enjoying their post-children years. I, however, am not so settled. All of a sudden, I have hit a crisis – a quarter-life crisis that I didn’t see coming and that I didn’t even know existed on this life journey.

If you are 20-something and experiencing these symptoms, you share my crisis.

1. You’re Turning at Least 25 This Year

Somehow, it’s a horrible milestone — it’s at least halfway to 30, and we know how bad 30 looks. Tiny fine lines will appear. Our parents will be asking when we are going to settle down, get married, and buy a house. Yikes!

2. You’re Wrestling With the Meaning of Adulthood

Is 25 an adult, really? Can you still have just some of the immaturity of 20? Maybe call up your college buddies, take a road trip, and get some crazy tattoos in a sleazy Mexican parlor? Then you start to worry about adult things like safety and infections and you realize that your youth has departed.

3. You’re Fudging on Your Age

You tell that cute college guy or gal you meet in a bar that you are only 22. I mean really, what’s 3 years or so? You can tell yourself that you really “feel” 22, and that age is just an attitude anyway. Nice try.

4. You’re Not Relating to Your Favorite Songs Anymore

Song lyrics are speaking to you. “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman” comes to mind. Except that you were singing that in college, not now. Now the lyrics need to be “I’m a woman, but can I still act like a girl?”

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5. Your Mirror is Rebelling When You Drink

A night of drinking means a full day of bad hair, dark circles, and an avoidance of all spicy smells. Fond memories of all-night binges are just those – fond memories.

6. You’re Seeing an Early Sun on Saturday Morning

You are suddenly getting up early on Saturday morning to clean, do laundry, and run important errands. These things have suddenly up-ticked on your priority list, along with daily planners and appointment reminders.

7. Your Mind Allows the Dreaded “M” Word to Creep In

Getting into a relationship comes with new fears. Will the other person begin to think long-term? Is this one it? To even hold a thought of marriage is something that proves you are now an adult.

8. You’re Skipping the Frozen Food Aisles

You find yourself shopping around the outer edges of the grocery store where all the fresh foods are housed, because health is becoming more important. And you are actually using pots and pans and a stove.

9. You’re Beginning to Think and Sound Like Your Parents

You are the one watching teenage antics and commenting on how immature they are or becoming annoyed with a child having a temper tantrum in a store aisle. God, you are beginning to sound like your parents.

10. You’re Beginning to Worry About What the Neighbors Think

You decide to clean up the yard even though you are only renting, and you actually go buy some plants and put them in the ground. What’s more, you become a responsible pet owner and actually take those little baggies with you when you go for a walk.

11. You’re Beginning to Use Adult Language And Standards

You’ve raised your standards about who you hang with and begin to look for networking opportunities – wow, even the word “networking” is scary.

12. You’re Beginning to Let Comfort Trump Style

You find yourself looking at more sensible shoes at the store, especially for work – how did this happen? And you watch younger kids just romping around in those 6-inch, pointy-toed things without even a worry about falling or getting a bunion.

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13. You’re Beginning to See New Meaning in Dr. Seuss

You are beginning to see deeper meaning in those Dr. Seuss books that you occasionally read to your nieces and nephews, and somehow the fun of them is all gone.

14. Your Purchases are Beginning to Change

You forego buying new clothes because you have to get a new vacuum cleaner. And you buy an iron.

15. You’re Dreading Some of Those Family Holidays

You go to the huge family holiday meal and all of the older relatives are asking when you are going to settle down. In between descriptions of her paralegal courses, your mother makes hints about how she wants to be a grandmother. You suddenly don’t feel well and leave early. Home alone with the TV is better than this.

16. You’re Losing Your Spontaneity

You are seriously ready to turn down a long overseas jaunt to see the world in order to keep your career on track. Wouldn’t even have been a contest 4 years ago.

17. You’re Developing an Appreciation for Your Parents

You actually start to feel some guilt about how you treated your parents as a teenager. Now that’s a maturity level that has really crept up. These thoughts usually come up when you are cleaning up after your roommate who can’t seem to wash a dish or put a new toilet paper roll on.

18. You’re No Longer Allowed to be Helpless

You realize that you’ll never be able to fake being helpless again, unless it is asking your mother for a recipe or how to get a stain out of the rug.

19. You’re on Your Own with the IRS

You are doing your own taxes like a real grownup, and it’s not nice. And you actually read those instructions that come with the tax forms.

20. You’re Worrying More About Those Incisors

You are no longer avoiding the dentist but are making regular appointments for cleanings and checkups.

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21. You’re Making Decisions Like Adults Do

You actually think about the pros and cons of something before doing it. And you are making decisions that would make your parents happy. Where did all of that wild abandon go?

22. You’re Worried When You are Overdrawn

You realize that you should have paid far more attention to that personal finance course you had. And you understand that budgets are really not for “wimps.”

23. You’re Actually Checking Your Credit Card Balance

You are no longer making those impulse buys that rack up your credit card debt. Wow, this would never have happened 4 years ago!

24. You’re Losing the Old Gang

Friends are starting to move away – close friends, good friends. And you are not prepared to really deal with that.

25. You’re Taking Work Seriously

You begin to think of your job as a career and start looking at the long-term future. And you are putting money into a 401K. Secretly, you are longing for days gone by when you had those part-time jobs that you could just quit because there were always other ones you could find.

26. You’re Resenting the Freedom Others Have

You look at friends who are traveling all the time and don’t feel happy for them anymore, as you sit at your desk waiting for that two-week annual vacation.

27. You’re Becoming the Boring One

You are asking your roommates to keep it down after 10 p.m. because you have an early meeting in the morning. And before you go to bed, you actually watch the news and weather reports.

28. You’re Thrilled to Get “Carded”

You are no longer “carded” at bars and liquor stores, and you are scrutinizing your face in mirrors, trying to figure out how you look over 21 now. You are absolutely thrilled on the rare occasion when it happens.

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29. You’re Avoiding Birthday Celebrations

You want quiet birthdays now. In fact, you have even deleted your birthday from your Facebook timeline so friends’ well wishes won’t remind you.

30. You’re Succumbing to “Witching Hours”

You go out with friends on a weeknight and find yourself continually checking your watch so it doesn’t get too late. “When did this start to be a problem?” you ask yourself. That’s a bit depressing, isn’t it?

31. You’re Trying to Figure out Popular Texting Acronyms

You are unsure about the meanings of words and those little abbreviations that keep popping up in texts from people just a few years younger than you. And you’re talking about work stuff while they are talking about the latest concert or road trip.

32. You’re Trying to Recapture Your Youth and it’s not Pretty

You are feeling old and so you go on a rampage of one-night stands and other wild things you did in college. And then you realize you have to break things off with several of those “stands” who got a little too clingy. It’s less easy than it used to be. And you are starting to think that taking your clothes off isn’t nearly as fun as it used to be.

33. You’re Finally Hit With the “How Time Flies” Truth

You begin to talk about the fun times when you were in college, and then you realize that those times were a good 5 years ago. And this is further driven home by receiving alumni mailings with requests for donations from your college.

34. You’re Looking at a Scary Email

The worst thing of all? You get that 10-year high school reunion notification in your email. “How did this happen?” And you begin to research the prices of Botox and liposuction, hoping you can save enough for them before that reunion date.

If you are experiencing even half of these situations, you too are facing that quarter-life crisis. Maybe there needs to be a club or organization of sorts – you know, like an AARP for us 20-somethings in crisis. I, for one, could use a little help with this whole adjusting-to-real-adulthood thing.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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