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When I was 23 I went through a quarter life crisis of sorts. It was actually a bit of an identity crisis if I’m being honest. I had this sinking feeling of being disconnected with myself and those around me. It built until one day it bubbled over and I found myself admitting, “I don’t know who I am” to myself. I had lost sight of who I was.
It’s a hard thing to have to admit to yourself because it’s such an out of control feeling – and no one likes being out of control of their own emotions and life.
I know now that this is actually a very normal and regular part of life. I know because I hear it from so many readers, family members, and friends. We see it happen to celebrities and in tv shows. Generally speaking it manifests itself as an identity crisis. “Mid life” crisis used to be a common term and we’re now hearing “quarter life crisis” with more regularity also.
It tends to happen anytime there’s a big transition in our lives that we have to figure out how to navigate. These transitions can be big or little. From losing a friend, or starting a new job, to getting married or divorced.
There are a few signs that pop up for most people when they’re going through one of these transitional identity crises and I thought I’d share them below.
1) YOU QUESTION WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU'RE DOING WITH YOUR LIFE
So, this one is a wee bit obvious to some but there’s others of us who don’t actually realize this is what they’re feeling. Putting words to what we are feeling or going through can be difficult sometimes.
It’s a big “ah-ha” moment when you can suddenly face the truth and see that you have no idea who you currently are, why you’re still doing the same thing you’ve been doing, or if that’s even what you want anymore.
Having this realization can also feel big and scary as there’s a hint of hopelessness to it but fear not, I’m going to give a few suggestions for how to get out of it at the end of this post.
2) YOU FEEL LOST OR STUCK IN A WEIRD CYCLE YOU CAN'T DESCRIBE
Your life kind of looks like a traffic circle. There’s a lot of movement but it’s mostly just going through the motions and you have no idea how to get out of it.
It’s a bit too much of a deja vu feeling for when you were learning to drive and you came upon your first traffic circle. You know you’re in the circle and can keep going around but are struggling to get out of the circle. It’s a cringe worthy feeling
All of it leaves you feeling stressed and maybe a bit anxious as you white knuckle the steering wheel, willing yourself to keep going because you’re scared of what will happen if you change directions. But also, you’re getting exhausted. “Can we please get off this ride now?” is something you feel daily.
3) YOU ARE UNHAPPY
There’s something about your daily life that feels a little disappointing. In some ways you feel like you just exist to do daily mundane tasks. You’ve lost sight of what brings you joy and your soul feels disheartened.
You can still laugh and have good moments but as a whole, something is missing. You may feel this deeply or perhaps have numbed its intensity. There’s a sense of remembering better times but you have no idea how to get back to that place and that makes you feel even sadder.
4) YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE ALONE
People may surround you and even invade your space daily, but in your soul you feel out of place – like you don’t fit in. Almost as if you’re inside someone else’s body, living out someone else’s life, disconnected from it all.
You long for deeper connections with yourself and others. However, you may have been burned too many times to want to take action on that or you’ve come to believe that there is no one out there for you. You tell yourself this to help ease the pain of rejection but the quote “if you didn’t know what it felt like, you wouldn’t miss it” rings too true for you.
You want to get back to that but don’t know how.
5) YOU HAVE A VERY VAGUE IDEA OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Despite all of this, you keep going. There’s something in your soul that knows better is out there. You may not have any idea what it looks like or how to get there but you really want to. The small inkling of hope in you is what has brought you to this blog post and fueled your search for better.
Some days may feel less hopeful that others but everyday you search for the brighter future. You’re so ready to fully transition from feeling lost to finding yourself again. You just need the next step.
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE
Acknowledging all those signs may feel either super enlightening or like a total downer. Both feelings are normal and both can be helpful. The gift is in the awareness. When you are aware of what is going on, you are empowered to make a change.
The first step to finding yourself again is self discovery. Rediscovering who you are and what you want at this point in your life will set you on a new path to happiness, surety, and confidence.
If you had an “ah-ha” moment as you read this post, that’s an element of self discovery. Discovering who you are happens in these little moments of awareness. It’s not always in huge realizations that smack you in the face. It’s the subtle things that make you go “ah, that makes sense”.
I believe that self discovery is the foundation of all personal growth and the starting point of creating a life you feel good about.
How can you create a life you feel good about if you don’t know what that looks like? And how can you feel confident in who you are if you don’t know who that is?
I talk about this more in my 5 Steps to Level Up in Life Masterclass.
Setting out on a self discovery journey is the number one thing that has changed my life. We often think life is the big moments – the ones we “have something to show for”, but true living happens in the little moments. It’s finding joy in the smallest thing, comfort in our favorite food, feeling the sun and wind on your face, laughing with friends, setting boundaries for yourself… the list could go on.
In order to do any of those things though, you need an awareness of what they are. In this post, we’ve identified the signs of identity crisis. I hope you feel empowered, because you now hold the keys to the next door of your journey…
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ABOUT ALLISON SUE
I’m a personal growth blogger, a nerd when it comes to books, and a lover of all things journals. When I’m not with you online, you’ll find me with my family, traveling somewhere, or watching Chinese shows on Netflix with my husband. Empowering you with tools to navigate to a life you feel confident about is always on my mind. I’d love to be on your confidence hype squad!
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