3 Things To Get You Through A Quarter-Life Crisis

3 Things To Get You Through A Quarter-Life Crisis

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

Read Time: 5 Mins

The infamous quarter-life crisis seems unavoidable no matter who you are. A quarter-life crisis is a low point or several low points that you can’t seem to shake. It typically has to do with love, relationships, and probably your career.

You may be in a quarter life crisis is you find yourself saying:

  • “I’m not living up to my life’s potential.”
  • “This isn’t what I thought it would be.”
  • You found this article by Googling “quarter life crisis.”
  • You look at your dog every morning as you leave for work and say to yourself, “I wish I was you.”

In all seriousness, if you are like me, the quarter-life crisis makes you feel like you’re behind in everything: life, career, love, money, etc. In reality, 68% of Millennials find themselves with the same feeling in their late twenties and early thirties.

There was a survey done that found that over 86% of Millennials felt pressure to reach their money, relationship, and career goals by the age of 30.

Uhm, hello! I am one of those in that group. I’m turning 30 in two months and I have a lot of dreams to make happen before then. I don’t know why but I put this pressure on myself that I needed to reach some of my biggest goals by the time I turned 30 but at some point, I decided that was the golden age.

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I don’t know why but I put this pressure on myself that I needed to reach some of my biggest goals by the time I turned 30 but at some point, I decided that was the golden age.

While I don’t think it’s entirely bad to be so ambitious, in reality, turning 30 is no different than 35 or 40.

It’s just another year. Of course, you’d like to have it “all” figured out but what if that doesn’t come?

Psychologists say that the quarter life crisis is synonymous with depression. To make it worst, if affects people who are driven to succeed the most. So all you hardcore goal setters and high achievers: you better hang on tight! The quarter life crisis is coming for you if you haven’t experienced it yet.

So all you hardcore goal setters and high achievers: you better hang on tight! The quarter life crisis is coming for you if you haven’t experienced it yet.

4 Stages of The Quarter-Life Crisis

  • Stage 1: Trapped. Autopilot. You feel like you have nowhere to go in your relationship, job or both.
  • Stage 2: A sliver of hope. You have a small light shining through you that say’s, “I can do this. I can get out of this funk if I just do xxxx.”
  • Stage 3: Transition. Whatever it is that is holding you back or keeping you in a funk, you transition out of it. You break up with your ugly boyfriend, you quit your terrible job, and you take the time to figure out “who you are” again. The only difference is that now you actually know what the real world is like.
  • Stage 4: Rebuild. Now that you feel free from the pressure you felt, you can start building a life that meets your true aspirations.
  • Stage 5: New dreams. This is the phase that is the most fun. From this point forward, you are clear about the aspirations that align with who you really want to be. It’s defined by new goals and new horizons.

To be honest with you, I have been in every single one of these phases. In fact, I am in stage 5 right now. I am in a hopeful and honest stage with myself, that I know what I want but I also know that sometimes it takes some time and hard work to get it. My goals are clear and I’ve seemed to make it through the first few stages of this process.

Related: How Culture Lies To Us About Success

Let me be clear, IT WAS NOT EASY. I was not sure I’d make it. It felt like war! Not literal war of course although it did feel like life was against me.

In reality, it was just the process of refinement of who I really am. It’s not following other people’s rules or dreams for my life. I want to accomplish my life’s biggest dreams by the age of 30, yet I know it’s not realistic. If I can reach all my goals by 30, I’m not dreaming big enough.

There’s still a lot of time on the clock in this game at age 30. You better be dreaming until you’re 95.

I think one of the biggest things people can do to get through the hardest stages, which is the first and second stage is just to find others that you can talk it through with.

Finding others that are in the same stage is critical because when you know you are going through something with someone else it just makes you feel better.

The conversation may go something like this:

You: “I thought I had all this figured out after. I don’t know a thing. What I really want is (insert dreams).”

Friend: “OMG! I had no idea you were feeling the same way, I thought I was the only one. I don’t know what I’m doing either.”

The fact is, there are many people who are going through the same thing that you are but everyone is just too afraid to admit that they don’t have it figured out in fear that they’ll be left behind in life.

I think another huge thing people can do is find someone who has been where they want to be. A friend or a mentor can help you see the bigger picture in your life’s timeline.

Too often we think of life in micro terms. When you talk with someone who’s been there, they can give you some much-needed perspective.

A word to the wise: if someone approaches you for advice, it’s probably not wise to tell them they’ll get it all figured out. It’s helpful to just listen and understand and encourage. I’ve been guilty of being “too” harsh in my approach of certain friends and family in the past and it’s never constructive for the other person.

Closing Out Your Quarter-Life Crisis

The quarter life crisis is real. You are not alone. It won’t last forever.

In order to get through it, you don’t have to change your life drastically, you just need to lean into it and not let it destroy you.

These phases of life have the tendency to bring out the worst in us. i.e. drinking, addictive habits, cycles of destruction and self-sabotage.

There is no shorter way to lose this battle as if you succumb to the pressure that you face during this stage and just “accept” your current circumstances. You must push forward knowing you’ll get through it.

You don’t have to abruptly quit your job and do something 180 degrees different, maybe you start pursuing your passions in the evenings and on the weekends. Maybe you start freelancing in a career industry you want to go into. Maybe you decide to work on your relationship in an intentional way and find the roots of your interest and love for the other person.

Maybe you decide to work on your relationship in an intentional way and find the roots of your interest and love for the other person instead of ditching your spouse or significant other altogether.

My point is that if you acknowledge that this is a phase of life, that you’re not alone, and that you need to “lean” into it with intention, you’ll get through it a better person. Promise.

It could mean quitting your job. It could mean calling it quits in the relationship. It could mean moving to a new city. It may not be any of these things that “change” your life.

That’s only something you can answer and it’s only something you will know if you try all options. Just know that on the other side of this crisis is your life. Stay true to yourself, don’t freak out, and press forward. A few good guiding questions to ask yourself in this stage of refinement are.

  1. What do I love?
  2. What am I good at?
  3. What does the world need that I can help fulfill?

Once you know these things, your path becomes a lot more clear. Then all you need to do is make a plan and work backward to get to your desired result. Sounds so easy, right?

Need another perspective? This is a great place to start. I really love this talk.


Do you relate to this article? What stage of the quarter life crisis are you in? The comment section below is open to any and all thoughts on this topic. Go.


Originally published at Your Money Your Freedom.

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