Take it from someone who’s in her mid-twenties: there isn’t enough information about the “quarter-life” crisis. It’s an enigma of a phenomenon and sometimes it feels more like a disease. This may sound depressing, but never fear: At least diseases have symptoms and many even have cures. I think one of the best things you can do for yourself if you’re in your twenties is learn the symptoms and self-diagnose. If you’ve moved past your twenties, congratulations! However, I still recommend that you think back (no matter how far back you have to go) and decide if you, indeed, had a quarter-life crisis. It may just put your current life into perspective. Below is a list of three quarter-life crisis symptoms, but make sure you read until the very end for the good news! Otherwise, you may be like my mom who only read the first part and thought I needed to go into treatment.
Symptom 1: On the day of college graduation, you’re crying just as hard as you were when you were born.
As someone about to catch the quarter-life crisis disease, you don’t want to leave your college womb and you feel like you’re being forced out, much like a baby being pushed out into the world. The college had four years of labor pains, and here you are the results of its labor. You and your friends may have plans and feel like you can go out into the world and show what you’ve learned, but let me tell you, this may just be a cover. Readers who have recently graduated, beware! This is one of those symptoms that will more than likely lie dormant and rear it’s ugly head as time passes…
Symptom 2: Forget feeling like a baby. You feel old.
Now to those readers who’ve reached the mark of greatness and have surpassed their twenties, please do not take offense to my usage of the term “old.” There’s nothing wrong with getting older, but there’s something wrong when you feel like you’re aging much faster than you are. What happened to being able to stay up until three in the morning? Why do teenagers and college students seem to be staring at you like you’re their chaperone when you walk into a club or go see that hot new music artist in person? Why does it feel wrong to blast hip-hop in your car on the way to an important business meeting? You know you have this symptom when you feel torn between a fun life and a responsible one.
Symptom 3: You feel like your life plans have somehow completely missed the mark or that somehow the mark of a great life has completely missed you.
It’s bound to happen: You don’t get that dream job right out of college. You decide graduate school isn’t for you, and you end up living with your parents while you figure things out. You don’t get that husband by the age of 27 and that child by the age of 30. Yes, unfortunately this symptom is very easy to detect, and I think we’ve all suffered from it at some point.
So where do we go from here? I’m not sure if there is a be-all “cure” to the quarter-life crisis, but I can say in all earnestness that it’s not a harmful disease. The quarter-life crisis may make you feel panicked, concerned, and fearful, but it can also make you feel a sense of excitement. This is a time in your life to explore who you are and what you can be to the world. Sure, you’ll make mistakes along the way, but some of the greatest findings in history have occurred because of someone’s mistakes. Most importantly, take comfort in the fact that this is, in fact, a phenomenon, and you are not alone. So I leave those who are currently experiencing a quarter-life crisis with the inspiration to hang in there and push through. After all, the mid-life crisis awaits us in twenty or more years, and at least there’s plenty of information out there about that one.