Updated: Jan 10, 2022
Are you in your early 20’s – mid 30’s? Do you feel your life isn’t moving in the right direction? Are you unsure of your career goals, unhappy with your relationship status, going through major life changes, comparing yourself with the progress of your friend’s?
If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the aforementioned questions, then you are probably going through a quarter life crisis.
So, what exactly is a quarter life crisis?
It’s a phase of your life that is typically experienced in your early 20’s to mid-30’s. It’s a feeling of being overwhelmed, uncertain or anxious regarding the direction of your life.
Most people feel that this is supposed to be a stress-free period of their lives with a lot of events to look forward to and hence are in complete denial of the problems they face or ignore the issues associated with this crisis.
Let’s look at some of the stressors for a quarter life crisis
Strained relationships – romantic/ friendship/ family
Moving from student life to work life
Probably living alone for the first time
Bored with your current job, inability to find a new job
Social pressures of being a responsible adult – getting married, having kids, wanting a higher income, buying a house etc.
Comparing your lifestyle to that of your friends’/ colleagues’/ relatives’.
Maintaining the perfect work–life balance.
There are 4 phases to this crisis.
Phase 1: An individual is committed to a job, a relationship, a social group, but realizes that this commitment is not what they want in the long run. This leads to inner conflict which is concealed for some time and can lead to a gap/ difference between public and private life.
Phase 2: The individual takes steps to get out of their commitments. This brings about a loss of identity, uncertainty and/or anxiety about the future.
Phase 3: The individual starts to explore different options, their identity, new relationships, new lifestyles and so on. They tend to focus more on themselves rather than others. The individual can feel emotionally unstable in this phase.
Phase 4: The individual finally commits to things that make them feel satisfied and give them a sense of control.
However, not everyone moves through the same order of phases. Some individuals may move directly to phase 4 and realize it’s not working and start from phase 1 or some may even skip a phase.