You’ve heard of a mid-life crisis, but how about a quarter-life crisis?
A crossroads in your 20s: Not married. No boyfriend or girlfriend. No kids. Stuck in a dead-end job.
12 News spoke with a couple people who have experienced it first-hand and found out what’s really going on during that time.
A quarter-life crisis might not sound horrible, but for some it can be the beginning of a dangerous spiral. It often happens during the transition to adulthood, and how it ends often depends on the person.
It should be the most stress-free time of your life. You’ve graduated college and don’t have anything tying you down. You’re an adult, but not dealing with all the challenges of adulthood, like mortgages, kids and in many cases, marriage.
So what could be making millions of 20-somethings feel so much anxiety about their lives?
Hollywood put a spotlight on it in the 2006 flick Quarter Life Crisis.
“It’s that mid-20s like lull,” said counselor Dr. Chante Pantila.
She commonly sees millennials with negative feelings and doubts during this time of transformation.
“I remember when it happened to me,” she said. “I was on the floor, crying to my mom, like 'I don’t have the career that I want… I’m not married… I just graduated from college, like what am I going to do now?'”
Pantila said millennials often experience feelings of being lost, scared or confused as they try to find stability and their permanent place in the “real world.” Doctors recognize this as an actual stage of development.
“I didn’t want to be in Arizona anymore,” said LeeAnn Kuang, who went through it for two long years.
“…just got over a relationship, so I decided to move out to San Diego, not knowing anybody there,” she said.
LeeAnn ended up alone in a new city, with no place to stay and little money in her pocket. Her crisis was in full effect.
She was living out some of the classic signs of a quarter-life crisis.
“Isolated for a little bit, just didn’t want to talk to anyone,” said Kuang.
She was missing the past and stressed about the future.
“Was pre-med, had all these expectations for myself and then obviously didn’t meet those expectations,” she said.
“Examining myself and asking, 'Am I worthy? And 'What’s wrong with me?'” said Kuang.
Lack of motivation.
“I actually couch-surfed for about two weeks before I found a place,” she said.
Dr. Pantila says those going through it may not see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s there and she knows.
“If I didn’t go through that, then I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Pantila.
That phase in LeAnn’s life gave her time to emerge stronger.
“Got to think about who I was and who I am,” she said. “Learning to love myself for who I am.”
“It’s not the end of the world,” she said. It’s not the end of anything, so it’s just the beginning of something new and be open about it.”
LeeAnn is now happily married and works as a therapist at Infinite Healing and Wellness, during times of crisis in their lives.
Dr. Pantila’s 10 signs you may be having a quarter life crisis:
- You have no idea what you're doing in life.
- You feel like you're always needing to get to the next step.
- You feel completely alone, even when you're surrounded by people who love you.
- Everyone else is getting married and having children, except you.
- You want to get a good night's sleep, instead of party all night and it terrifies you.
- You start to evaluate your financial decisions.
- You still don't know what you want to be when you grow up.
- You realize you haven't met any of the goals you set for yourself after high school.
- You stuck at the same job for years and haven't started your career.
- You realize you've lived your life for everyone else.