Does Anyone Sell A Pause Button?

I just cannot handle this quarter-life crisis anymore.

Laila Khairina
4 min readOct 20, 2022
Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

Overwhelming is not the right phrase to summarize how I feel. For the past month, I have been feeling a mixture of confusion, anger, worthlessness, and every possible negative emotion.

No, nothing terrible has happened to me. Life has treated me so well — I just got promoted, I traveled fourth times already this year, and my family is doing great — so there is nothing I should be complaining about, supposedly.

But this feeling is real, and it is starting to consume me.

Before you get even confused about what I am talking about — I am talking about the quarter-life crisis. A quarter-life crisis is a crisis “involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life” which is most commonly experienced in a period ranging from a person’s early twenties up to their mid-thirties.

Yes, direction, or the lack of it, is the main factor of this agonizing emotion that has been living rent-free in my head.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

To give you a background, I am currently working in an entirely different field than my major. No biggie, I chose this fate myself because I simply wanted something new. And to my surprise, despite being stressed in the first three months, I came to enjoy it.

I started to perform better as well, solidifying my plan to stay in this field for at least three years. Then, I got promoted. Life would go even better after this, right?

Wrong. It is when my life starts to go downhill.

See, I liked my position before because even though it was not something I am passionate about, it was still doable. I was a top performer too.

I started to tie the label of being a top performer to my identity. I became ambitious and I wanted to climb that corporate ladder. I said yes to every opportunity because I wanted that exponential growth.

But, what I didn’t realize is that my excitement has its limit. When what you are enjoying from the job is not the work itself, a job promotion or bonus can only get you so far. Once I started my new position, I was hit with difficulty left and right. My enthusiasm lasted for a week before “I hated this job” starts to become something I muttered regularly.

Now, I am questioning every plan and decision I have made for my future. Everything has been massacred and I need to take immediate rescue for my life.

To make it worse, the voice in my head is having a party over this.

If you follow what you actually desire and pursue the degree you want to have, what if you become broke in the future?

Your current field pays quite well too, are you sure sacrificing it will be worth it?

How can you be so sure you’re smart enough to pursue your dream?

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I feel guilty for experiencing this crisis. I am an adult and hardship is something to be expected to happen in an adult’s life. I feel like I am being a child and this feeling is no more than a child’s wailing because she loves everything being easy. She is so surprised that life is not an amusement park and life is not going in her way.

You know what, I feel silly calling it a crisis. There are far more serious things happening in life and I dare to call this emotion ‘a crisis’? What a way to tell people how privileged I am.

I don’t know whether this feeling is valid or not. It is hard to acknowledge that I am going through this phase. Shouldn’t I be much stronger than this? Why am I so weak?

But, enough is enough. I am so tired of thinking about this and I need a pause.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

I want to actually live in the moment. Now that I think about it, the quarter-life crisis might happen to me because I worry a lot about my future.

The future to me is always something I am scared of. It is full of unpredictability and I am not built for it. I need to plan everything in my head because I want to avoid pain and mistakes.

But, without realizing it, I traded my present moment for a future that hasn’t even existed yet. Instead of saving myself from future failure, I am drowning myself with stress when I could’ve done something better with my time.

I am done pondering that question for now. I will take a time off from my head. Screw you, brain.

The question and dilemma are still left unanswered, I know. But, this time I will leave it for time to answer it for me.

Let’s be friends, future!



Laila Khairina

Obviously a new writer. Will appear when she feels like it.