by Omer

October 4, 2019

It seems to be a common occurrence nowadays for people to be struggling to find direction in their early adult years. There could be many reasons as to why this happens, but I’ve seen it all too many times, including in myself for that matter. 

Either a person is so confused when they finish their schooling years that they struggle to pick a direction or a career path that they end up jumping from idea to idea and job to job, or they complete some form of tertiary education or begin working only to realise in 3-8 years that the path they have been treading wasn’t meant for them. I don’t know, I think it’s ok if you end up walking down either of those paths, as this is what you were meant to experience in order to gain some self awareness. 

But why is it so common to have this huge confusion at such a pivotal time in your life and in many instances causing people to fall into despair or depression as they feel utterly lost. Obviously, this isn’t the same thing for everyone but I feel it’s definitely common enough to have to speak about it.
Just to add quickly, I think it’s a valid way of finding your feet, learning about yourself and gaining experience by exploring your options in order to pick a significant pathway, however, I want to look at why this quarter life occurs at all.

So the general answer, in my very humble opinion, is a combination of what we learn in school and also what is instilled into us by our parents. Now you might say “thanks Omer what a cliche answer”. 

Hajji, listen for a sec.

The thing that guides us in our decision making and also in what directions we tend to choose are the morals and values that we learn growing up, tie that in with an understanding of our purpose and this usually constitutes a pretty decent compass within us. Learning the values of life and companionship, the benefits of different types of work, the concept and meaning of procreation, the intricacies of how a successful community operates, good moral character etc, add to our values. Combine this with our two fold purpose, first being to submit to the one God and secondly to fulfill a specific practical purpose in this world and you have your compass.

Now when we lack these understandings, these beliefs, we have little to guide us and give reason to actions that we think we need to take or see others taking. It’s actually a lack of nourishment in a sense at our younger ages as a child and a teenager and the result can sometimes lead to confusion and not holding down a career or being dissatisfied with any sort of work you do. It can also lead to living a destructive lifestyle but I won’t go into that.

I can talk about what’s lacking in the schooling system or what parents should be doing and I probably will eventually, but I’d prefer to look at how things can be resolved rather than getting caught up on blaming and finding excuses. My post isn’t to blame what’s happening in schools or in how children are being raised, it’s to notice a trend and hopefully do something different at an individual level. All we can do at the end of the day is focus on improving ourselves and our families, and this will have a roll-on effect in improving our communities inshaAllah. 

Finally, everyone has a journey to live and their own path to walk. You would have learned many different lessons walking your own path, my intention is to share something which may help us help ourselves, not feel bad for ourselves.

About the author 

Omer