On the concept of a quarter life crisis

So i commented on this topic on another blog and I thought it was worth re-posting that comment here.

The question I was answering was about the feeling of dealing with a quarter life crisis. When I wrote the post on my 20s which is linked below, I didn’t talk in terms of a crisis. I was just documenting my experiences from my perspective. At the time, I’d never even heard the expression before but I came across it shortly after and it wasn’t difficult at all to understand what it was about.

As I discuss in my comment, the word ‘crisis’ may be throwing people off a bit. Perhaps it conjures up images of people sitting around, wringing their hands in what we imagine to be full on crisis mode but for most people that’s not the case.  Life carries on while you try to figure out exactly where it’s going. Which is why calling this experience a quarter life crisis is not a big deal in my opinion. Because the simple ability to put a name to what you’re going through helps a lot in dealing with the situation.

Here is a link to the post I was responding to:


And here’s my comment:

It seems you take issue with naming this a crisis. But the terminology doesn’t matter all that much. Whether you describe it as a crisis or a normal phase of life (one does not preclude the other), what is important is that there is a tangible way to describe the particular experience associated with this stage of life. The reason is that it helps people who may be experiencing it to realise that they are not alone.

Yeah, this experience may be brought on by a dissatisfaction with life but I think assuming that such dissatisfaction is the result of people’s desires being misplaced really misses the mark. Wanting financial security or a structure to one’s life is not a misplaced desire. You can be as focused as anyone on the big, important things and do everything by the book and still find that things are not moving in the direction you had hoped. Because, sometimes, life just works out like that. But if you don’t realise that, you can start to think that you are a failure.

I think if you’ve had a relatively smooth transition from school into work and adult life, it’s not easy to understand the frustration of others who may have worked just as hard or maybe even more but are not in the same place as you. I’m not saying that there were no challenges involved but overall in the big picture you can look back and say that things have pretty much fallen into place whereas someone else just cannot seem to get started. It’s just like how someone who’s always gone straight from one job to the next cannot easily understand what it feels like for the person who has a hard time even finding a job that pays minimum wage.

These days, the reason there’s a lot more talk about the quarter life crisis (even though the concept’s been around for a while) is the recession because for many people who were just getting settled, it threw a huge spanner in the works. In my field for example, many people were laid off and the career path that had been stable for years just went up in flames leaving people in very tight situations.

Anyway, I and others have blogged about similar topics so rather than saying more here, I’d suggest taking a look at the following links if you’re really interested in personal perspectives per your closing sentences:





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