Understanding the quarter-life crisis

Everyone feels that the 20s and early 30s are the best years of a person’s life. However, they are not such a great experience for everyone. What people rarely talk about is understanding the quarter-life crisis, even though many young adults experience it. But what is the quarter-life crisis, how to know you are going through it, and how to get out of it? Stay tuned as we’ve prepared answers in this article.

What is the quarter-life crisis?

Similar to a well-known mid-life crisis, the quarter-life crisis is a period of uncertainty. You feel uninspired, trapped, and as if all of your illusions of adulthood have been shattered. You are struggling to find a career that makes you happy and fulfilled.

This usually happens to very smart and driven people. This life phase isn’t recognized as much as the mid-life crisis, making it that much harder for people going through it to actually accept it. Many people feel that they shouldn’t have these feelings as they are supposed to live a stress-free and fun life at their age. However, for many young people around the world, that’s not the case. If you think you are going through a quarter-life crisis, you need to find ways to deal with it. The best thing to do is to look for professional help, but even simply talking to your friends and family can help a lot. Keep in mind that an unresolved quarter-life crisis can lead to reckless behavior and poor decisions. Feeling this way for a while can even build resentment and cause problems with anxiety and depression.

A young man sitting on the couch in a dark room.

Understanding the quarter-life crisis – what causes it?

A quarter-life crisis can be best described as a period of dealing with uncertainty. Your 20s are an exciting period, but they can also be very intense as you seem to have to grow up fast and take on many responsibilities. As a child, you might have imagined a righteous world where everything is based on merit. However, in reality, things are quite different, and you might end up anxious and disappointed when you realize it.

If you are under a lot of pressure and feel like you have to accomplish everything, you can easily slip into a quarter-life crisis. On top of that, you might constantly be comparing yourself to your peers who seem to have everything figured. However, keep in mind that not everything is as it’s shown on social media. It’s important to understand that everyone has their own struggles, but they are not keen on advertising them.

There are some common quarter-life crisis risk factors:

  • Feeling apathetic and unhappy with your career or current job
  • Experiencing financial difficulties
  • It’s your first time living alone or handling life with roommates
  • Feeling disconnected from your peers and unable to connect with people and make significant relationships
  • Dealing with anxiety or depression
Man talking to a therapist about understanding the quarter-life crisis.

If you recognize yourself in the things we’ve listed above, it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible.

Four stages of the quarter-life crisis

Regardless of what’s causing the quarter-life crisis in your case, it usually includes four stages:

  1. You are feeling trapped – In this phase, you might feel uncertain about your choices. It could be either because you feel trapped in your job or in a bad relationship.
  2. A period of separation – A period of loneliness is characteristic for people going through a quarter-life crisis. This can happen if you recently quit your job, broke up with your partner, or decided to leave your social group.
  3. The phase of reflection – In the next phase, while being isolated from everyone, you might go through a period of reflection. It’s the time committed to soul-searching that might inspire you to move to another state and seek employment in a totally new environment. Others might decide to work on different skills that will help them have a successful career.
  4. Understanding the quarter-life crisis – The final phase brings closure and better self-acceptance. You will feel more motivated, gain more confidence, and become more optimistic about the future.

Not everyone will come out of this process stronger and with more self-confidence. Therefore, if you feel like you’re struggling too much and are unable to move past these feelings, don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help. It’s an entirely natural process, and many people go through it one way or another.

Ways to cope with your quarter-life crisis

If you recognize your current situation while reading this article, don’t despair. Feeling scared and uncertain is entirely normal. You need to remind yourself that it’s OK not to have answers to all of your questions right now. Some things take time, so it’s essential to be patient and not judge yourself too harshly.

A pallet of colors and paint brushes

The next step, probably the most important one to overcome the quarter-life crisis, is to pursue your passion. It’s an opportunity to put yourself first and dedicate your time to doing something you genuinely love and enjoy. Following your passion is essential in order to live a happy and fulfilled life. Therefore, get out of your comfort zone and start exploring new hobbies and interests.

Another thing you should be focused on is being grateful for the good things in your life. Although it might sound like a cliche, it actually works. If you’re constantly thinking about everything that isn’t going the way you planned, you’ll be overwhelmed by negativity. This can lead you to anxiety and depression. On the other hand, by being focused on the positive things in your everyday life, you will feel much better. Having a positive mindset is the best way to overcome the quarter-life crisis.

Don’t be afraid to talk

Sharing your feelings with your friends or family members can really help you go through this period much more easily. Perhaps some of them went through the same thing, and they can share their experience with you. Even if they didn’t, getting things off your chest can feel liberating, and it’s always nice to have someone to listen to you.

If nothing above works for you and you still feel stuck, make sure to look for professional help. Sinking even deeper into a quarter-life crisis can seriously impact your mental health. You might come to the point where simple tasks are difficult to focus on or even end up severely depressed.

The bottom line

We hope we have helped you get a better understanding of the quarter-life crisis. Remember that this is not just a trend but can be a serious issue if not addressed promptly. If you found yourself in this article, know that it’s a perfectly normal phase many people go through in their lives.

One of the best ways to overcome it is to focus on finding a new career. Our team at Findmino.com is always more than happy to help you discover your new passion. Feel free to get in touch, browse our site, or take an online course. We’re waiting for you!