Social Trend Quarter Life Crisis among Young Adult Professionals

So, this is the new “social trend?”  As if mid-life crisis weren’t bad enough, now we have “quarter-life” crisis?  Are there no limits to things that today’s young adults have to whine about?  Not to be unsympathetic, but really?  Quarter-life crisis?  I’m going to let you twenty-somethings in on a little secret.  Your generation didn’t invent “being lost,” or “being unable to find themselves.”  Neither did my generation-or the generation before.  It’s always been there.  It will be there in the next generation and you’ll be the ones, like I am now, saying, “What do these kids have to gripe about?”

So, to those of you suffering from “quarter-life” crisis, here’s a little piece of news.  Not knowing who you are, or what you want to be, at age twenty-something is not a crisis.  A crisis is when you lose a loved one, suddenly, in a car wreck.  A crisis is when you lose your job at the same time as one of your kids needs braces and your car is on the fritz.  These are events that test your mettle.  How well do you handle adversity?  How do you cope with true stress?  Not knowing what you want to be when you grow up when you’re merely twenty-something is not adversity.  (Some would argue that, if you do have it all figured out in your 20’s, there’s something wrong with you then.  Hell, I’m forty-something, and I have no clue what I want to be when I grow up.)

I know I’m going to sound like a fuddy-duddy right now, but this is my view of the whole situation.  Today’s twenty-somethings don’t have a clue, because they haven’t had to work for anything.  Most of you don’t remember a time when the internet wasn’t there-when cell phones were a luxury-when we didn’t have “instant access” to everything in the whole wide world at once.  You’ve never “earned it.”  (I know this isn’t true for a lot of you in this demographic.  But, for those of you who have “earned it,” I’m guessing you aren’t the ones going through “quarter-life” crisis.)     

In my generation, and generations before, when we “were lost” in our early adulthood, we’d hitchhike across the States or across Europe or do the hermit thing and go camping for a month, totally alone.  These were things that helped clear our heads.  Did it help?  For some it did-others, not so much.  Here’s what I would propose to a young adult struggling with “quarter-life” crisis.  Go a week without your cell phone.  (Week?  Try twenty-four hours).  Just to prove it to yourself that you can.  Most of you will be unable to.  I’m serious.  Try no cell phone at all (no texting, no internet, no regular conversation, nothing at all) for a day.  Most of you will be unable to.  Why can’t most of you find yourselves?  Because most of you haven’t ever had to fend for yourselves.

Look, I probably shouldn’t talk.  If I were following the script, I’d be having my mid-life crisis, right now.  But, I’m not.  I don’t have (nor, do I want) a sports car.  I’m not chasing young girls.  I’m not living the stereotype.  And, why is this?  Because, I think the mid-life crisis is as much of a crock as the quarter-life crisis.  Forty-something year-old men (and some women, I guess) use mid-life crisis as an excuse to try to re-gain their youths.  And, you know what?  It doesn’t work. 

So, for those of you suffering from quarter-life crisis, while I try to be sympathetic, my best advice to you is to work your way through it.  Like any other “crisis” it’s up to you.  In the end, you have the ability within to make things better.