Fresh out of college, you knew life was going to be tough. Damn right it is! And now that you are in your mid-twenties, we’re pretty sure you’re either exhausted, bored, or listless. You may find life a little dragging, boring, or meaningless. And you have many questions and doubts.
Single with no chance of settling down anytime soon? Miles away from ever being able to get a foot on the property ladder? No idea where your life is going? Welcome! You are in the prime position for a quarter-life crisis.
When in a quarter life crisis a person will collect together all the symptoms and signs of the problem at hand.
Yet what happens if the symptoms and signs are actually secondary to the real problem? It leads to many missteps in your actual healing process.
Most quarter life crisis signs and symptoms are actually secondary to the real problem at hand. The core quarter life crisis problem comes down to “Not Fitting In”. This seems like such a small issue that people ignore the actual huge long term consequences of not fitting in.
What is Quarterly Life Crisis?
According to a recent study titled Emerging adulthood, early adulthood and quarter-life crisis: Updating Erikson for the 21st Century, by Dr. Oliver Robinson at the University of Greenwich, this time in your life breaks down into five main phases:
- Phase One: You feel trapped by your life choices, like your job, relationship, or both. You’re living on “autopilot.”
- Phase Two: You get a sense of “I’ve got to get out of this” and feel a growing sense that change is possible if you just take a leap.
- Phase Three: You quit the job, end the relationship, or break the commitment that’s making you feel trapped. Then you detach and enter a “timeout” period where try to rediscover who you are and who you want to be.
- Phase Four: You begin rebuilding your life slowly but surely.
- Phase Five: You develop new commitments that are more in line with your interests and aspirations.
Most people come out the other end in a better mental state, but this period of limbo can still result in a lot of pain and confusion. In fact, as Zilca notes, the average age for the onset of depression has gradually slid younger, from the late forties to the mid twenties, over the last 30 years, and psychologists think the quarter-life crisis is partially to blame.
To add insult to injury, Dr. Robinson says the dilemma tends to affect a certain type of person the most: those who try.
If you’re driven to succeed, have strong ideals, and set goals you want to achieve by certain points in your life, you’re a prime candidate for the disappointment and confusion such a crisis often brings.
The Signs of Quarterly Life Crisis
You could be in the midst of one right now and not even know it. Here are the 15 signs you’re having a quarter-life crisis:
1. You are suffering from an existentialist or nihilist crisis.
Ooops. I might have exaggerated a little bit. But anyways, you know you got hit by quarter life crisis when you begin questioning the purpose of life. YOUR LIFE.
Then you begin asking the Divine creator questions like: “WHY DID YOU PUT ME ON THIS EARTH, GOD? WHAT IS THE POINT OF MY EXISTENCE? But in a less morbid way than it sounds; you know what I mean.
You do this probably because you are getting bored and more bored every day. You cannot find sense in the things you do daily. And yes, this is normal amongst youngsters in their mid-twenties.
2. You’re frustrated at not being able to figure out the answers to the above.
You are looking for purpose. You are searching for meaning. But meaning and purpose are elusive. And this frustrates you. Even the mere idea that you are searching for one stresses and frustrates you.
Clearly, you experience the crisis. Aggravating the frustration is your need to find answer quick. But the quest for answers isn’t a walk in the park, and it isn’t a troll, it’s a marathon, and it’s uphill.
3. You fear you are running out of time.
You’re terrified by the thought that your best years may be behind you and you still feel like you haven’t done anything with your life.
And then you realize you are closing in to 30. And death, the idea of death, the end of your cycle of life, stresses you out even more. You think you should have achieved a lot by now.
Remember being 15 and thinking about how at 25 you’d have your life together and be smashing it? What a joke. Ha Ha Ha! *sobs*
4. Everything around you makes you freak out.
Deym. Your high school classmate just got married. Your best friend from college is already rearing a child. Suddenly you are anxious about everything.
Yes, social media makes you feel anxious and you can’t help but feel freaked out every time an engagement or baby announcement pops up, even though you don’t want to get married or have kids yet.
FOMO. Fear of missing out. That’s it. It’s kicking in. Good luck with that!
5. You getting old makes you worried AF.
Listening to Taylor Swift’s 22 brings on an existential crisis because guess what, you’re not 22 any more and maybe not everything will be alright, Taylor.
Try listening to 2NE1’s song 21? Good luck with that pal! *cries in the corner*
6. Even the things you buy remind you how old you are and you’re conflicted by the idea.
Going into Forever 21 is equally conflicting (shouldn’t you be shopping at Reiss and Jigsaw by now anyway?).
7. But you are in denial about it.
But you keep telling yourself 25 is the new 21. It is. It really is. You even go on and say “During my grandpa’s time, 17 is the marrying age, today, it’s 28! True enough, 25 is the new 21!”.
Okay. Sure. Sure. Okay.
8. But you are also torn between growing up and staying safe and sound by the comfort of teenage life.
You’re torn between wanting to be a proper grown-up and wanting to be looked after by your parents in a bubble of safety and comfort forever.
9. And you want to escape…. Life.
You feel the need to escape somehow.
10. You cannot figure out how to balance work and life.
You’re torn between thinking ‘F*** it, I’m going to pack in my job and go see the world while I can’ and ‘S***, I need to climb the career ladder and work really hard so I can achieve some success in my life’.
11. You’re offended when you’re ID’d but even more offended when you’re not.
12. You show off even if you are not sure if you can show up.
You buy yourself an expensive handbag or gadget because you want it to appear like you’ve got your s*** together even though you’re not sure you can pay your rent this month.
13. You are confused: Fling or for real?
You don’t know whether you should be dating around and having casual fun or trying to find the one because everyone tells you something different.
14. You are stuck with a ‘temporary job’.
Your temporary job has somehow lasted three years.
Fresh out of college, you had great ideals in life. You had your eyes on that dream job. But you can’t get it, not just yet. Right?
So, you settle for the first job that comes your way. And you tell yourself: “This is just a temporary stint.”
Breaking News, “Today is your 3rd Year Anniversary! Happy Anniversary!”
15. You have a fear of missing out or getting left behind.
Whilst you and your peers were once all impoverished youngsters together, you’ve realised that your friends working in higher-paid industries will likely be richer than you for the rest of your life and the gap between your incomes is probably only going to widen, which kinda sucks.
Remember that life isn’t about money or marriage or any of the things we’re freaking out about. And most of all, it isn’t a race. We all have our own timelines, each of us has. So, comparing ourselves with others is pointless. It does not make sense. Live your life the way you want to.
Whilst it’s true that being in your 20s now is different to how it was for our parents, your 20s have always been a time for figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life.
We may be far from where we wanna be, we are getting there. Yes, we are getting there.
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Angone, P. (2013). 25 Signs You’re Having a Quarter Life Crisis. [online] Allgroanup.com. Available at: http://allgroanup.com/adult/25-signs-quarter-life-crisis/ [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017].
Hill, A. (2011). The quarterlife crisis: young, insecure and depressed. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2011/may/05/quarterlife-crisis-young-insecure-depressed [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017].
Elite Daily. (2014). Quarter-Life Crisis: 25 Disappointments You Deal With When You’re 25. [online] Available at: http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/25-disappointments-almost-every-25-year-old-experiences/863641/ [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017].
Lifehacker.com. (2017). [online] Available at: http://lifehacker.com/how-to-overcome-your-quarter-life-crisis-1782670670 [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017].
Themuse.com. (2012). Powering Through Your Quarter-Life Crisis. [online] Available at: https://www.themuse.com/advice/powering-through-your-quarterlife-crisis [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017].
Forbes.com. (2017). Forbes Welcome. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/julesschroeder/2016/09/08/millennials-this-is-what-your-quarter-life-crisis-is-telling-you/#4dd01cb3262d [Accessed 15 Jun. 2017].