Yes, you read it right, a quarter life crisis, another one of our generation’s specialities.
You might be more familiar with the term midlife crisis. It is commonly used to describe people between the ages of 45 to 65 that go through an emotional bewilderment, with a strong desire for change. It is a phase when they start asking themselves hard questions about their lifestyle and accomplishments.
Millennials, or generation Y, like to do things differently than pervious generations. We pulled the age of midlife crisis back from 45 to 25. Our generation is questioning their purpose and life goals at the beginning of adulthood.
Seems a bit strange, right?
It all makes sense nonetheless. In this post we’ll explore what is meant by quarter life crisis, why millennials have a crisis earlier than previous generations, why it is actually a good thing, and we’ll share an exercise to help you deal with it. But before we jump in, does quarter life crisis really exist?
Is quarter life crisis really a thing?
Well, we wouldn’t be writing about it otherwise. But just to convince you, here are some numbers we found pretty interesting when doing research for this post.
60% of British millennials report signs of experiencing a quarter life crisis according to research done by First Direct Bank. Financial difficulties is the most prominent cause as reported by 53% of the 2000 respondents. Other reasons are finding the right job, working in a challenging job, trying to buy a house, or being in the right relationship.
There is even a board game created by Hasbro called The Game of Life: Quarter Life Crisis Board Game Parody Adult Party Game. In the game the players move around the board earning and loosing money as they race to pay off their 500 thousand dollar debt.
To top it off, if you are experiencing a quarter life crisis, you are not alone. Just listen to John Mayer singing “Am I living right? Am I living right? Am I living right?” in Why Georgia. This could very well be the anthem of our generation.
What is a quarter life crisis?
Let us jump right into it. According to Collins dictionary, a quarter life crisis is “a crisis that may be experienced in one’s twenties, involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life.”
In other words, it is a period of soul searching and finding your path in life. If you catch yourself at work asking yourself the question: “is this what I should be doing right now?”, then you too are having a quarter life crisis. Broadly speaking, it is an identity crisis.
Essentially we all have some doubts about our decisions. What career path to follow, our romantic relationships, where we live, etc. A quarter life crisis, is when these hesitations persist and haunt us for a period of 3 months or longer.
The interesting part about this trend of our generation is why we of all generations? Haven’t we been victimised enough, being born into the best (or worst?) era on earth?
Why do millennials have quarter life crisis?
There are various causes reported by millennials for having a quarter life crisis. But the question still remains, why is our generation the first one to undergo this? Simply put, it is the circumstances that we were born into.
Our generation is spoiled compared to previous generations. We have too many options, too much potential, and infinite possibilities. Technology has given an abundance of information available to us 24/7. We can learn to do or be anything at anytime from anywhere. Social media has made the possibility of becoming someone famous and influencing the crowd an attainable goal for all.
It sounds like we are stating the obvious, but the world was very different three decades ago. Millennials have the gift and curse of unlimited everything. We previously wrote about why we are a generation of nomads where we describe why our generation is constantly striving for better.
For our generation, self-fulfilment is the goal and the journey at the same time. We have an unremitting drive for a better lifestyle. Self-fulfilment goals are a moving target. The closer we get, the further it seems.
Nonetheless, there is a good side to this story and there is plenty you can do to calm yourself down and enjoy the journey.
Why is a quarter life crisis good?
While using the word crisis might have negative connotations, there are many benefits resulting from a quarter life crisis. This is where it gets really interesting.
Going through a crisis means that things can only get better. You don’t have to hit rock bottom to go up. You can stay in the same level you are in now, but seek improvement.
Being aware of the crisis and approaching it with the right tools and techniques can lead to a better and more fulfilling lifestyle.
It is not bad to strive for better. Humanity as a whole has been doing this for centuries. This is why society is where it is today! Of course, it is also important to be content and express gratitude for what you have. For that it is important to be conscious of where you are heading and why.
Here’s a 10 minute exercise we created for reflecting on your current lifestyle and setting goals for the immediate future.
10 Minutes Exercise For Millennials To Start Living A Happier Life
Through doing this exercise you can take a constructive look at your day-to-day life and decide which changes are appropriate. The task is to outline all activities in your day in order to rank them according to your energy level, which will yield a good picture of what you like and dislike about your current lifestyle and routine.
There are 3 steps involved, and it should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete them.
1: Map out your daily routine
2: Rank activities according to your energy level
3: Start making a positive change
For the complete explanation of this activity, take a look at our post 10 minutes to a better life, where we outline each step and explain the background and benefits in more details.
The prizes of this crisis
Our generation managed to gain the “first” title for many things. Yet the quarter life crisis seems to be what will define us for future generations.
It is our relentless impulse to improve everything around us and within us. We go against the norm, and we re-define the usual with the unusual. While some might see quarter life crisis as a problem of our generation, it is actually an opportunity.
By not following the agenda set by previous generations, we take a chance on defining a better life and traditions that fit our circumstance and current environment.
Don’t be fooled by the negative connotation of crisis. It is your chance to consciously design your life to a more fulfilling and satisfying life.