If you're approaching the big 3-0 and feeling suddenly aimless and insecure about your career and relationships, you might in the middle of what we know anecdotally as a pre-30 meltdown. Recognizing the symptoms of a late-20s identity crisis can be the first step to making the start of your third decade a lot less stressful -- and realizing that you're probably right where you need to be, after all.
A Sense Of Not Measuring Up
Now that your adult life seems to have officially arrived, you may be feeling the need to get it together, fast. Suddenly, it might seem that if you want marriage and children -- things that your mother may have had at 30 -- you'd better start finding them now.
Try not to stress about getting all your ducks in a row by the time you hit 30 -- the most important thing at this point in your life is to figure out what you want and be working towards it, not to already "have it all."
Lying About Your Age For The First Time
Although you may have been worried about aging since you graduated from college, most of us don't start to really dread our birthdays until the mid to late-20s. If you just found yourself lying about your age for the first time, pre-30 angst may be kicking in.
Questioning The Value Of Past Achievements
For some women, the insecurity of a pre-30 crisis inolves doubting their past accomplishments -- the wins at work and personal victories that you were once proud of might not seem to amount of much when you're focusing on the ways that your life has fallen short of your own definition of success.
Increased Insecurity About Dating And Relationships
Sadness and stress over a breakup, romantic relationship or lack of relationship is a common symptom of a late 20-something crisis. It doesn't matter whether you're single, married, dating around, or coupled in any form -- your relationship status becomes a daily source of stress and anxiety during the pre-30 crisis. You may find yourself suddenly unsatisfied with a long-term relationship or anxious about not having gained enough dating experiences in your 20s.
Dwelling on all the things that you could have done differently in your life is a hallmark of the pre-30 crisis. Everything you might be unsatisfied with at work or in your personal life feels like a product of poor choices or missed opportunities.
Suddenly, your financial situation may feel forebodingly unstable and looks a whole lot more pathetic than it ever did before. By the age of 30, every woman should have learned to master certain basic money skills, like keeping a budget. But if you haven’t yet, at least you’re aware of it, and there are plenty of tools available online and off to help you move towards financial stability going forward.
Questioning Your Career Path
As you move through your 20s, it's normal to realize that your dreams aren't quite what they had seemed to be when you were younger. And as you approach 30 and reevaluate your life path, you may be considering quitting your job and completely changing career paths.
The questions that people come in with might be, “I'm in IT earning $130,000 a year but why am I doing this?” And it's an important question to ask. If you're feeling unfulfilled at work or uncertain about a career path you chose based on the salary, it may be time to look at your future in that career.
Not Feeling Like Yourself
Any major life change can trigger a shift in values and perspective that leads to an identity crisis. You may be doubting yourself and questioning who you are as your 30th birthday approaches, wondering how you got where you are in life and calling your most deeply-held values into question.
And this can be a good thing. You probably do know who you are -- but you're just aware that you have a lot of options. Modern women often experience what she refers to as choice overload, and that the remedy to keep a healthy perspective on decision-making.
Constantly Comparing Yourself To Your Peers
The pre-30 crisis feeds on comparison to others of the same age, and it can lead to a constant nagging feeling that your life doesn't measure up. You may be going on Facebook to check up on former friends and enemies to see who has their adult like "together" -- and who doesn't. But of course, in the end, neither outcome will make you feel better about your own situation. Sometimes. Admit where you are, and refuse to be ashamed of it. You’re doing the best you can.
Not Wanting To Go Out
Turning to Netflix and a cup of tea night after night may actually be symptomatic of a pre-30 crisis. If you've been isolating yourself from friends and frequently declining invitations, your need for alone time may be a reaction to elevated stress levels. Be sure to make time for low-key activities with close friends to keep your spirits up.