Finally grown up, but still don't know what you really really want

Tips for the millennial quarterlife crisis

By Simeon Karsten & Wing Yan Man

For Dutch click here

‘Follow your passion! Find your true potential! What is your purpose in life?!’ Oprah used to pop up only when we turned on the TV, but now she seems to be the mastermind behind every coach, self-help book or podcast we can find. The pressure to search for our inner übermensch is high. Especially for us millennials, who are ‘lucky’ with so many choices in life: Able to choose between vegan, gluten free or organic UberEats meals. Working yourself into a burnout while pursuing your corporate career, or rather be a digital nomad on Bali? You finally count as a grown up and you can choose everything that fits your unique characteristics. But what if you still do not know what you want in life? Is there something wrong with you?

We, Simeon and Wing, have walked a difficult path of failures and therapy to get to the point that we finally do what we love. Will this last forever? Who knows. We did not predict that depression and burnout a couple of years ago either. Since we seem to live in times where at any given moment the world can turn into a post apocalyptic Will Smith movie, is it even realistic to constantly strive for certainty? We believe that you cannot plan your life in a 5 year Google Calendar. However, being prepared for the uncertainty and guaranteed setbacks makes you more resilient for any future choice you will make. Accepting the unknown, embracing imperfection. Great, but how? Here are our tips.

1. Shine a light

From ‘what to bingewatch on Netflix’ to ‘what the h*ll am I doing with my life’, a millennial will always live with doubt. The perfect choice does not exist. And doing nothing, sitting, waiting, wishing for better times does no good to anyone. Therefore, create your own light by taking action: Just choose oat milk or fix that sabbatical. Are you heading into the right direction? You will not know and it does not matter. Action causes reaction and soon enough you shall understand what you do and do not like. Meanwhile, you will save the barista some time too.

2. Look beyond the swipe

Your photos in the cloud are leaked, a lil’-you is unexpectedly on your way or your boss just refuses to give you that well deserved promotion: Life is unpredictable. Therefore, prepare yourself for guaranteed setbacks by investing in what is truly important to you. Not spending more time with their loved ones is what people on their deathbed regret the most. Stop the Tinder behavior (where a Machu Picchu photo is an automatic left swipe) and invest in your relationships. Yes, even the difficult ones, because they teach you so much more about who you are and what you stand for. After all, your future Great Gatsby house party does not fill itself.  

3. Let it go!

You have done it: You do what you love, you have the right people supporting you, this is it! Or is it? Your picture perfect today might be different tomorrow. Your environment changes, and thereby your needs. Euphoria or emo, everything is inevitably temporary. A big relief, because sipping tomato juices everyday in business class gets boring anyway. Dare to let your personal beliefs go by pursuing what really suits you. Despite how critical and well intentioned the advices of others might be. Lost again? Start all over at tip 1!

After collaborating at Icarus Festival Amsterdam in 2018, Wing Yan Man (Founder of 3310 - School for Millennials) reached out to Simeon Karsten (Founder of Vitamine Z) for a joint partnership. Together they have developed the ‘Holy Sh*t Show - Finding purpose in the Land of Milk & Money’ (performing soon at Career Days of University of Twente) and Young Professional workshop ‘Tell me what you really, really want - How to choose & survive at work and in life when you don’t know’. For more information visit www.3310.school/y-program or email to hello@3310.school.

grownupWing Yan Man