A quarter-life crisis is a period of turmoil that typically occurs in your mid-20s to early 30s where you question the choices you’ve made in your life and where you’re headed.
It may be accompanied by feelings of anxiety, panic, depression, feeling lost and stuck, disappointment and frustration at yourself and your career, and a sense that your life has no meaning or purpose.
Below 8 common quarter-life crisis symptoms will help you identify whether you are going through a quarter-life crisis.
- You feel like you’re falling behind your peers. You haven’t accomplished half of what you thought you would. Everyone seems to have it figured out but you. Your Instagram feed is full of friends getting engaged, being promoted, buying 2-bedroom houses and having kids. While you’re happy for your friends, you can’t help but see it as a reminder of how far away you are from achieving any of it.
- You’ve no idea what to do with your life. You feel lost and directionless. You’re questioning the meaning of your existence. You don’t feel fulfilled by your job and long to find a role you’re passionate about, but you have no idea what that is, or how to find it (or even if it exists for you).
- You’re questioning every decision you’ve made in your life up to now.
- You feel trapped by your circumstances. Your job or your relationship is making you miserable but you don’t know how you can get out of it without hurting people, or what you want to do instead.
- You feel panic at how fast time is slipping by. It feels like you don’t have enough of it to do all the things you want to do.
- You feel paralysed by the decisions you have to make. You feel like these decisions could impact the rest of your life and you’re scared to make the ‘wrong’ choice. Should you do that graduate program or stay in your job and stick it out for more experience on your CV? Should you go travelling or hunker down so you can save for a property and a family? Should you leave your 6-year relationship or stay and try to make it work?
- You feel torn between having fun and getting serious. Should you be ‘living your best life’ while you’re still young, or hunkering down so you can achieve some crumb of success? When you’re pursuing one, you feel guilty for not pursuing the other. You don’t know how to balance it.
- You feel disappointed and disillusioned by what adult life has turned out to be. You feel trapped and bored by the repetitive cycle you’re stuck in of unfulfilling work, home, sleep and doing the same things with the same people over and over again. You wonder daily ‘Is this it? Is this all there is to life?’
If you identify with any of the quarter-life symptoms above, you’re likely going through a quarter-life crisis.
But don’t worry – it’s a very common transitional period with research showing that 75% of 25-33 year olds have gone through the same thing, so you’re far from being alone.
While the day-to-day of a quarter-life crisis can really suck, it can serve as a wake-up call that something in your life isn’t working and present an opportunity to create a life more aligned with your true self.
For more information on how to overcome your quarter-life crisis check out this post.