Emotional Wellbeing



Mandy Kloppers

Quarter-Life Crisis and Its Consequences for Young Adults

Learn everything you need about quarter-life crisis and how it affects young adults

Have you ever heard about the quarter-life crisis? If you haven’t, don’t be surprised! It is something rarely talked about! Nevertheless, it is a real problem that affects people between 18 and 30 years old. If you are curious to know more about it, you came to the right place.

Most of us have heard about midlife crises, haven’t we? You know it is this period in the life of (mainly men) when they suddenly decide to spend half of the savings on unnecessary things or super fancy sports cars or find a lover! Some people (advocates of the midlife crisis existence)  are saying that it happens because people in their mid-40s or 50s become aware of their mortality.  Others believe that this phenomenon isn’t real, but that it is more of a social construct. We must say that we agree with them! Wondering why? Well, because of the simple fact that women don’t seem to be affected by it. Apart from that, it seems that many people in poorer and underdeveloped countries somehow stay immune.  Does it mean that they are not aware of their mortality? They don’t care that their lives stop? Or, it is more about the fact that women and people struggling to survive don’t have time to think about such things as the transience of life? But whatever it is, we believe it is better to play something like triple chance games that allows you to. Actually, earn money during your midlife crises.

Whether it is a real or social construct, the reality is that it gets a lot of attention as it mainly affects middle-aged men. Also, there is another problem faced by younger people that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It is called a quarter-life crisis. You have never heard of it? It is not surprising, because society doesn’t want to recognize the problems of young people.  If you are, say, in your 20s and feeling depressed, insecure or anxious, everyone will tell you that “You worry too much! You have your whole life ahead of you! Why are you making a drama?!” You probably heard millions of such comments. 

Nonetheless, despite what everyone is thinking, people in their 20s and early 30s may have a whole set of emotions associated with depression, anxiety, etc.  Maybe you are unsure about whether to continue your education or start working? Maybe the job hunt after university isn’t as simple as you might have thought. It is also possible that you are going from a bad relationship, and you are not sure that you know what to do with your life. In that case, you are possibly experiencing a quarter-life crisis! It is a serious problem that can make people feel even more lost and isolated than they are. However, there are ways to deal with it. We talked with some psychologists to understand more about quarter-life difficulties and how to cope with them.


Photo by Juan Carlos on Unsplash

What is Quarter-Life Crisis?

So what is a quarter-life crisis? It refers to a prolonged period during which one is experiencing uncertainty and insecurity. A person is also often questioning the choices, values, and beliefs, etc. On one hand, it is normal to a certain extent when you are in your twenties. Say that you are in your final year of university, right? It is  logical that you are dreading the future and wondering what to do with your life, whether you made the right choice of school, etc. But if you keep feeling that way for a long time, you are probably dealing with quarter-life anxiety and depression.

German psychologist Erik Erikson associated the quarter-life crisis after college with “intimacy vs. isolation”. According to him, it is this period when we exist in a protective bubble of family or campus and enter the real world. He also says that it is a period when people look to find intense relationships and end up feeling lonely when they fail.

The crisis of the quarter-life age is often marked by indecisiveness about the future, jealousy towards peers, loss of direction in life, lack of motivation, split between the desire to have fun and to have responsibilities. Now, such a crisis in the quarter-life of young adults is not unusual. However, if the problem is not adequately addressed, quarter-life consequences can be quite severe. Unresolved crises can lead to reckless behavior, such as alcoholism, which can then cause other health problems.  It can also exacerbate problems with depression, anxiety, etc. 

Causes of Quarter-Life Crises 

Many of us remember our twenties as the best part of our lives. However, while it is an exciting period, it is also a period of rapid change. Plus, there is pressure to fit in. You have to be successful or happy, and most often both at the same time.  You are dealing with fierce competition to thrive. Since everyone puts everything on social media, it is not surprising that you fall into the vicious competition circle.  Seeing all this, it is safe to conclude we all have risk factors for a quarter-life crisis. Some of the most common are:

  • Apathy and lack of inspiration towards the job
  • Financial stressors
  • Living alone for the first time 
  • Making vital life decisions
  • Struggling with mental health issues 
  • Lack of connection with others 

Did Things Get Worse With COVID 19? 

We already established that quarter-life time is hard for many adults as it is!  SARS CoV2 pandemic made things even worse because life became even more insecure. People, who were working for 10 or 15 years at stable positions, suddenly lost their jobs. So logically, everyone started wondering how things will look like for those who just got out of college. Plus, the restrictions prevented us to see friends, family, etc, which contributed to an even greater feeling of isolation and loneliness.

What To Do About Quarter-Life Crisis?

  • Tell yourself that it is normal to feel that way. Remind yourself that it is not possible to have all answers at once, and that every experience doubts occasionally. It will help you to not judge yourself. As a result, you will easier find the solutions you are looking for. 
  • Give yourself time to think. What is common for every crisis, including quarter-life and midlife crises, is that you need to figure out what is bothering you to solve the problem.  Often it can be difficult to pinpoint the real issue right away. So give yourself some time to figure it out. 
  • Go after your passion.  Think about things you would like to do. It can be a hobby and not something related to school or job!  Doing things you are passionate about will make you happy and fulfilled. 
  • Seek professional help. Take quarter-life crisis seriously, no matter what others around you are telling you.  Keep in mind that it can leave severe consequences on your mental and physical health. Hence, if you are feeling that you can’t handle things by yourself, don’t hesitate to look for professional support. 

Final Thoughts 

Experiencing a quarter-life crisis can undoubtedly be overwhelming. However, these tips can help you go through challenging and lonely times. Reminding you that it is normal to have all these feelings plays a significant role in getting over the crisis. Have you ever heard about this issue? Have you or someone you know experienced it? 

About the Author

Arthur Rowley is an avid writer specializing mostly in technology and marketing. Having spent years finessing his craft, he now can ensure you that Arthur has much acclaim for these areas and dedication to providing high-quality blogging content.


Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Scroll to Top