Dealing with the Quarterlife Crisis

The prevalence of the “quarterlife crisis” – essentially, a midlife crisis that occurs in your 20s – seems to be on the rise.

Many young people experience some degree of stress, self-doubt and lack of motivation upon entering the “real world” after college. However, the phenomenon of the quarterlife crisis seems to be increasingly common as fewer young adults reach the traditional milestones of success, though pressures to achieve them remain the same.

Research shows that up to 86 percent of young adults feel pressure to succeed in careers and relationships by the time they reach age 30. However, only 11 percent actually attain conventional markers of achievement such as obtaining a steady job, getting married and having children by their 30th birthday. Likely due to this discrepancy, up to 73 percent of 26 to 30 year olds may experience a quarterlife crisis.

So what are some things you can do to deal with a quarterlife crisis? Experts say it’s important to redefine your idea of success and stop comparing yourself to others. Instead of despairing over why you don’t have your dream job or the perfect relationship, try defining success by what you have to offer others. Try volunteering and other skill- and character-building activities. Remember that life is not a race and that everyone is on their own path.

Dr. Paul E. Keck, Jr., President and CEO of Lindner Center of HOPE, recently gave a talk on this subject on LA Talk Radio’s Answers 4 the Family radio show. Check out Dr. Keck’s talk, “Failure to Launch – What’s Really Holding Back Emerging Adults?”

In some cases, quarterlife crises may lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders or even addictive disorders. If you or a twenty-something family member is displaying signs of a psychological or addictive disorder, it’s important they receive prompt and effective treatment. Contact Lindner Center of HOPE for more information on screening and treatments for mood disorders and other conditions.

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This blog is written and published by Lindner Center of HOPE.

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