Are you going through a 1/4 life crisis?
It is a common premise of popular television shows, movies, and books today. A starry-eyed, 20 something enters the world with a bachelor’s degree from a liberal arts college hardly worthy of an entry level job. This “young adult” has unpacked boxes waiting in the basement of her childhood home with the hope of saving up for a place of her own, and questions of whether or not college relationships can last in the “real world.”
After a few years of working at an unfulfilling job, going on countless first dates, and struggling to envision a future of a life beyond, one must stop and ask the question, “What am I supposed to be doing with my life?” Coming to the realization that this is not the life you had hoped for can leave one feeling anxious and overwhelmed. A life crisis and you have yet to turn 30.
A quarter-life crisis
Experts are calling this phenomenon the “quarter-life crisis,” defined as “a period of anxiety, uncertainty and inner turmoil that often accompanies the transition to adulthood.” Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, had some foresight when he said “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness,” as these appear to be the primary struggles of modern young adults.
A quarter-life crisis may be characterized by confusion of where one fits in the world, insecurity about long-term plans and life goals, frustration with relationships or career, difficulty finding a community of friends and making major decisions, or feeling like you have to do or be something more. British scientists describe five phases of the quarter-life crisis, including:
1. Feeling trapped by life choices
2. Feeling like something can be changed to no longer feel trapped
3. Exploring new possibilities and ending the job or relationship that is making you feel stuck
5. Developing new goals that fit with your interests.
Some young adults may be able to move through these phases with support of friends and family, while others turn to support groups or therapy in effort to move out of their “rut.” Self-help books, as well as online support communities are also popping up in response to this new need.
Change for the better
While the word “crisis” implies this is something we should try to avoid, the quarter-life crisis is not necessarily all bad. In fact, many people who report having experienced a quarter-life crisis come out of it feeling like they have made positive changes for themselves.
This may prevent a so-called “mid-life crisis,” when commitments to careers or relationships may be more difficult to change. Some benefit may be had in taking the time in young adulthood to reevaluate one’s life goals and make choices that will make meeting these goals be a possibility. Whether that means going back to school, finding a new job, looking for a new relationship, traveling, or simply taking a break, the emergence of the quarter-life crisis may be the key to a generation of content and well-adjusted, middle-aged adults in the years to come.
Tags : People : Sigmund Freud