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I don't know that I'd call this a crisis that's confined to any particular age group. I think you've hit the nail on the head with the description of "not knowing what I want" and "not having any direction."
I'm not in my 20s. I'm 40, and I've experience precisely what you're talking about at different points in my life.
What we're facing increasingly in developed countries is an extreme wealth of choices, something that 100 years ago simply wasn't the case. Our options today are seemingly unlimited, and there is intense pressure to make the "right" choices that will result in instant success, when this is pretty much impossible to do.
There have been scientific studies that show that more options actually decrease confidence and happiness-- in the case of these studies, the focus was consumerism -- because the person doing the choosing assumes more and more personal responsibility for making the "right" or "best" choice, rather than putting the onus for satisfaction on the limited choices.
Perhaps we need to place more value on the experiences of life -- trying new things, living with the results -- rather than on the traditional benchmarks of "success."
We're spending too long and too much energy looking for the best possible fit in the choices that we make, rather than being happy with a good fit. You can find this in the hunt for the perfect job, or in the quest for your soulmate. Neither exists. It's our personal commitment to a not-bad job or a companion who's fun to hang out with that creates that ultimate experience. In truth, we're about as happy in our lives as we make up our minds to be.
Additionally, I think many people -- young and old -- may either have difficulty putting a stake in the ground and saying "*this* is what I want" (and so end up feeling aimless and without direction in life), or they get distracted from what they want by all of these competing options and alternatives.
If there is a "cure," I'd say it lies in not being afraid to define what you want, and stick to that, while also loosening our attachment to what success is supposed to look like.
posted 3 years, 1 month ago
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