Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why I See My Quarter Life Crisis (minus two years) as a Positive Thing

I'm only 22 (going on 23 next month yay me!) but I'm pretty sure that I'm going through a quarterlife crisis (QLC). Call me crazy, but I view my QLC as a blessing.

Psychologist Oliver Robinson from the University of Greenwich in London describes a QLC as a 25-year-old’s realization that he or she isn’t at the point in their life that they desire.

“They've chosen a career path and may be in a serious relationship,” said Robinson. “The problems start, if they end up in a job they don't like or in a relationship that doesn't fit them. This leads to a feeling of being one thing outwardly but feeling inwardly that you are someone else, which causes a discrepancy between your behavior and your inner sense self.”

Some wonder why they are stuck at a job they loathe while all their other friends have wonderful jobs. Some feel like they are forever trapped by their job or their relationship and there is nothing he or she can do to change it. You’re only 25 and you’re already feeling stuck in a rut. Yikes.

According to a study conducted by Robinson, he and his colleagues found that a quarter life crisis usually occurs in five stages:

Phase 1 - A feeling of being trapped by your life choices. Feeling as though you are living your life on autopilot.
Phase 2 - A rising sense of "I've got to get out" and the feeling that you can change your life.
Phase 3 - Quitting the job or relationship or whatever else is making you feel trapped and embarking on a "time out" period where you try out new experiences to find out who you want to be.
Phase 4 - Rebuilding your life.
Phase 5 - Developing new commitments more attuned to your interests and aspirations.
For me, I see my QLC as positive thing. Once you really get down to it you’re not locked into anything (unless you married early and have children). You can really do whatever you want. You can choose to teach abroad for a few years. You can get into graduate school. You can do missionary work. You can move to a new city. You can volunteer with a nonprofit organization. You can decide to do something completely outside your major. The possibilities are endless, so now the only question when are you going to do it?

You should feel so blessed to have so many options to choose from!

Don’t be afraid of disappointing anyone….it’s your life…you should live it the way you want to correct? Obviously funding will be needed for any decision you choose to make, but if you are truly dedicated to making a change in your life while you still have ample time ahead of you, start budgeting. Figure out what you can do without.

As my father always tells me when I’m having anxiety attacks and freaking out about my life, my career and my future: THIS IS ONLY TEMPORARY. You’re just in a temporary situation until something better comes along or until you choose to be proactive about the direction of your life. Easier said than done, but repeating this mantra to yourself actually does help.

Have you ever gone through a QLC? How did you deal with it?


  1. Great article. I work with a lot of 'quarter life crisis' clients to achieve mental, emotional and physical health in this age and beyond. Breaking it down as you do in the article is very helpful for everyone in and around this age.

    1. Thanks! People always want to act like people at this age are too young to go through any type of crisis...