We all know about a mid-life crisis and if you're in your mid 30s or older, you may be experiencing but what many of us don't realize is that we go through some sort of crisis all of our lives! Each age range is a phase we go through. My focus will be on the quarter-life crisis as I am experiencing it. It's that time in your life when you start to evaluate or re-evaluate your life but every case is different.
The characteristics of quarter-life crisis for those that have not finished their education, such as myself, are the a sense that everyone is, somehow, doing better than you. I am in no way jealous of my peer's success. On the contrary, I feel so proud and happy of all those that have worked their ass off to get what they have but at the same time, I can't help but feel like a failure. For those that have finished their education, may even experience the insecurity of thinking that what they have done is not enough. Had I finished school on time or early, that would be me but life happens and you can't always rely on a concrete life plan. You become disappointed with your job, you begin to stress out about unexpected expenses and the cost of being an adult. However, even those that do finish their schooling, have loans to pay, car payments, and mortgages as well just like the one that has no education. The high cost of living, being up to par with your friends or peers, all the while "making it" may even lead to insecurity, loneliness, isolation from others, depression, and suicidal tendencies. I always dwell on the "what ifs." What if I had finished school on time, where would I be working? What if I had finished school, where would I be living? What if, what if, what if?!?!?!
As you hit your mid twenties, you start to form a more concrete and strong opinion on certain situations. Some begin to settle down and begin to have that want or need to form a family, where as others run in the complete opposite direction for fear of being tied down. But deep down, we all have that need for a family of our own, to have our own children and have a successful relationship, etc, but not all of us will admit to it for fear of it never happening. I.E., a person's sole wish in life is to have children of their own but they may be gay and either have to pay for invitro, adopt, etc, and it may not ever happen for them for various reasons. Another example could be a woman wanting children but she has not been able to get pregnant. She might not mention it to others that she is trying to conceive for the fear of others knowing that she is infertile. All these factors of "where we are SUPPOSED to be or WHAT we are SUPPOSED to be" set in deep fear factors in us.
Finally, one of the other important characteristics of the quarter-life crisis are the realization that you are getting older. When as a teen and in your early twenties, you felt invincible. Nothing and no one could or would get in the way. Now, that you hit the mid twenties, you feel mortal. You see that you are aging and you begin to realize the toll the years have taken on your parents as well. For many, I think this is when the fear of death kicks in. You now know that you have entered the "real world" and have to take care of yourself and even find a way to some how take care of your parents. You begin to think of all your years you've spent with your parents and re-evaluate your relationship with them, try to make up for lost time or try to figure out how to care for them all the while caring for yourself. The unsettling feeling of they may be next and you're definitely going after they do. The normal cycle of life: born to only die, eventually.
The way I put it together may not include all the characteristics but in my opinion, those are the main factors that cause a quarter-life crisis. I am definitely having one now. Even though I am only 24, going on 25, I feel like I am 34 going on 45! I feel so aged for my age and yet, I have not accomplished a damn thing! However, I don't regret the route I have gone down. I had a "plan" but that plan did not coincide with what was in store for me. Things happen and eventually I will finish school and maybe even then, I won't feel accomplished. All I know, and a I can suggest, is to take it a day at a time. As much or as little as you have accomplished in life, be happy. If you want more, then do more! If you feel you haven't spent enough time with your parents, then start now! My mom always told me "everything in life has a solution except for death" and I know she is absolutely right! Everything and anything can be resolved so long as you want it to!