Meet the quarter-life crisis. Younger sibling to the mid-life crisis, it is aged about 25 to 35, & characterised by feelings of confused uncertainty and a wildly absent sense of purpose or identity. Our blog expands on the concept, with advice on how you can identify your purpose and emerge happier and more fulfilled.
For the fortunate few, life’s calling is and always has been crystal clear. But for the majority of people, the transition into real world ‘adulting’ doesn’t always go to plan (assuming the existence of a plan in the first place). Which is exactly why it’s the perfect time to start thinking about finding your ‘why’ in life and establishing the framework for a life you love, now and into the future.
The Quarter-Life Crisis; What’s It All About?
In fact, the quarter-life crisis is such a common phenomenon that one could almost regard it as a rite of passage. LinkedIn reported that 72% of young professionals in the UK have experienced some kind of quarter-life crisis, calling into question their goals and aspirations on a personal and/or professional level.
The quarter-life crisis is rather eloquently summed up by Caroline Beaton (Psychology Today, Sept 2017). ‘While traditional life crises often entail a role loss or identity threat, quarter-life crises seem to stem from deficient clarity of either. In consequence, whereas later life crises often result in taking life in a whole new direction, quarter-life crises often result in deciding on a direction.’
It isn’t hard to list a multitude of reasons why your mid-twenties to mid-thirties might be all questions and no answers. After all, it’s typically at this stage in life, that (somewhat trapped by traditional expectation, and in equal measure clinging to those ambitious goals the twenty-year old version of you set for yourself), the pressure mounts to ‘find’ yourself – in life, in love and in the workplace. From stepping onto the property ladder, to finding a life partner and launching a go-getting, fulfilling and successful career, the to-do list is both daunting and life-shaping. These are huge decisions, with huge repercussions. Ticking any one of them off the list at the age and stage you’d envisaged is just one part of the challenge. Getting them right is equally tough. Add to this the modern-day pressure of social media, the constant exposure to everyone else’s views and opinions, not to mention the human compulsion to compare yourself with your seemingly over-achieving peers. It’s the perfect storm, when you stop and think about it, and, if you’re struggling to nail #lifegoals, it all fuels the unsettling sense that you’ve got no real clue what the actual point of it all is.
Like every cloud, though, this one has a silver lining, provided you can channel it appropriately. When psychologist Oliver Robinson conducted a survey of 50 people who had experienced a quarter-life crisis, 80% of them reported retrospectively that they had ultimately emerged from it positively. They had, it seemed, turned crisis into opportunity, identifying newfound purpose and focus, which Robinson suggests might fend off a future crisis in later life. And it stands to reason that, if you set your life out on the right track, anchored in your values, and underpinned by an overarching purpose and drive, you’re less likely to look back regretfully in years to come.
The 5 Phases Of The Quarter-Life Crisis
Robinson’s research exposed 5 key phases of the quarter- life crisis:
Phase 1 – feeling hemmed in by your life choices. Feeling as though you are ‘existing’ day to day, perhaps in a career that doesn’t ‘fit’ or a relationship that is not working. The net result is a sense of disconnect between the person you want to be (the life you want) and the person you are being (the life you are living).
Phase 2 – the urge to ‘break out’, and the realisation that you have the opportunity and power to change things for the better.
Phase 3 – breaking away from that which is holding you back or making you feel trapped. Taking the time to ‘take stock’, try new things and find your raison d’être.
Phase 4 – defining your purpose and rebuilding your life around it.
Phase 5 – identifying and developing new commitments more aligned with your values, interests and aspirations.
Quarter-Life Crisis; Finding Your Why
More good news. If you’ve read this far, the chances are this has struck a chord, which instantly fast tracks you to phase two; you’ve recognised the disparity between your inner sense of self and your current life choices, and what’s more you’re resolved to put yourself in the driving seat of change.
The key to it all, then, is in defining your personal purpose. It’s the obvious place to start, because until you have established that, every decision you make might be a wild stab in the dark.
At FindMyWhy we recognise all of this, and that’s why, in the midst of the pressure and expectation of your daily life, we’re here to support you in every way on your journey to identifying, articulating and securing the opportunities and choices that uphold your values, and make your life and career goals a reality. We want to encourage you to think big, to be honest and realistic with yourself and to define your purpose at this key phase in your adult life. We want you to confidently believe in the unique value you bring to the world. We want to empower you to create a life you love, by helping you to understand what excites, drives and resonates with you, and by helping you to pinpoint the best direction for your present, and one that sustains into your future.
Developed by our expert team of psychologists, our free online service will guide you through the process of revealing your unique inner values – resulting in a complementary personal toolkit that is informed, tailor made and relevant to where you are in your life right now. You’ll gain piercing insight into what makes you tick, and why some things resonate more with you than others, giving you the clarity to identify the opportunities and choices that allow you to be the very best version of you, the tools and tips to seek them out, and the ability to express them with the people who can help turn your personal purpose into your day to day reality.
At FindMyWhy, we don’t just understand individuality; we believe that with the right guidance, and channelled in the right way, your individuality is your biggest strength. With FindMyWhy, your personal purpose project starts with an online questionnaire, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The consequent insight comes in the form of a thorough, detailed and completely free report that is relevant to you and you alone. Beyond that, you’ll have immediate and on-going access to professional advisory services, complementary toolkits and free resources created to empower and support you – in the context of your unique profile – in identifying your purpose and making your life or career goals a reality, both today and into the future. We are with you every step of the way, providing credible and expert support and guidance wherever and whenever you need it.
Click here for more information about how FindMyWhy can help you to establish your purpose, realign or reaffirm your goals, and realise your full potential. Craft a life you love and start living it to the full.