Archana Shrestha (name changed) was in a relationship with a guy for two years. Shrestha, who is a registered nurse, was happy until the relationship started to go south. After constant niggling, she parted her ways.
Since the breakup, Shrestha has been upset and disturbed. She tried many things to get back to her best. She did yoga, even tried to meditate. But she found it very hard to move on.
Shrestha felt that seeing other guys could help. Coincidently, her family brought her a marriage proposal. Without thinking, she agreed.
Accompanied by her father and grandmother, Shrestha met the suitor and his family. The two exchanged numbers and started to talk.
Interestingly, it did not take Shrestha more than two days to decide that she wanted to get married. A week after meeting the guy, Shrestha got engaged.
She had thought that getting engaged would help her forget about her past relationship. However, that did not happen as she started regretting her decision as she started getting suicidal thoughts.
“I still can’t get over him. Yes, I am engaged and the wedding is four months away. But, I couldn’t figure out what should I do,” she says.
Every day she cursed herself. She felt that her life had come crashing down. Her past relationship kept haunting her. Neither did she earn enough to sustain her self.
“I accepted an arranged marriage proposal in haste and now I am regretting this decision. I have messed everything up,” said Shrestha.
One might assume that Shrestha’s story is a solitary case. However, experts say many young adults in the 20s can relate to what Shrestha is going through. This is the time when one realises that life is not a bed of roses.
A person passes through various stages in life. Each stage is filled with numerous physical, cognitive, and psychosocial changes. Every phase has its own crises, issues, and struggles. While travelling through the journey of life, when one reaches the age of 20-25 years (also known as early adulthood), they have to deal with several new social, psychological, behavioural, and financial issues that others seem unconcerned about.
On the surface, the issues and concerns may appear different. They might vary as per their backgrounds, economic, cultural, social, and educational ones. Also, the issues may change with the advancement in technologies. However, structurally, 20-somethings across the world go through similar issues and concerns about their lives across the world, according to various psychologists.
Onlinekhabar has talked to Nepal’s prominent psychologist Basu Acharya, who has a long experience of working with the youth, to discuss what these major issues are and how the youth can deal with them. He has pointed out the following:
During this stage, an individual seeks independence. For independence, the youth want financial independence first.
This is the age when one learns behavioural management. Reality will hit the individual very hard in these years. Till late teens, most people (with some exception) do not really care about making money as their living and educational expenses are backed by their parents. But, when a person reaches the age of 20, they find it awkward to ask their parents for money; also, their parents and other relatives pressurise them to apply for a job.
However, in reality, they rarely get any decent job in the competitive market. It leaves them crushed.
People of this age group are emotionally stuck and overwhelmed. They are experiencing so many emotions together and are learning to balance their id and superego. Their day-to-day struggle in maintaining their affairs, relationships with family, friends, career ambitions, and academics give them an emotional roller-coaster ride. And, when one fails to cope with these issues, one may fall victim to various mental issues like anxiety, depression, acute-stress, and anger during this phase.
Career and study
The angst about career and study peaks at this age. Young adults constantly struggle with their choices regarding courses and careers. This is the age of confusion. One is confused about whether to apply for a government job or a private job or to apply for an abroad study plan or a job. They revisit their earlier choices in their studies as well as careers with an abundance of options available in today’s world.
This is the time when one often desires to make new relationships and connections with others. Also, a person tends to trust their partner more than anyone and anything else in the world. Whereas having someone whom one can trust helps settle many issues many times, overreliance can backfire on them other times. German-American psychologist Erick H Erickson has categorised this stage (20-39 years) as the intimacy versus isolation stage, the sixth stage of psychosocial development among eight stages of life as per his theory. According to him, the major crisis of this stage focuses on establishing intimate and loving connections with other people out of the family and longing to share the rest of the life with that person.
If one completes this stage successfully, the outcome will be healthy, happy, caring, and secure relationships. However, if one fails, then the outcome will be isolation, loneliness, and even depression.
People in this phase commonly feel that their parents are not able to understand their emotions, dreams, and desires. Most of the time, their parents and family members deny such feelings, instead, think that the youth are more demanding and less responsible. It widens the generation gap.
Meanwhile, their concerns towards their parents also grow in this phase. Even in such case, their dissatisfaction with the parents remains active, which essentially make them divided and undecided.
How can young adults overcome all of these issues?
These years are the golden period in one’s life where one learns to understand the ‘real world’. To face the issues of this phase and overcome them successfully, one can do the following:
- Recognise your strengths and weaknesses, accept them, try to strengthen the strengths, and minimise the weaknesses
- Work on your cognitive functioning and learn behavioural management (how to act as per the situation and the nature of the people, how not to be dysfunctional, how to manage relationships with everyone, how to manage expenses and so on)
- Learn distraction strategy: you need to know how to get distracted from unnecessary things and how not to get distracted from the necessary things
- Get engaged in creative activities. Acquire new knowledge and skills.
- Express your emotions. If you are in problem, accept it, and seek help for solutions.