We’re all familiar with the term ‘mid-life crisis’, however the ‘quarter-life crisis’ is becoming more and more common amongst young people today. Erin Lindsay takes a look at this recent development.
Your younger years are said to be the best of your life. Spending your time partying and making friends and memories with no responsibilities, your twenties are often referred to as your 'selfish years' - it's all about you.
Recently however, a new phenomenon has tarnished the glow of the twenties; the so-called 'quarter life crisis'. It is particularly prominent in individuals in their mid-twenties and for people just after leaving college. Symptoms include feeling lost, doubtful and confused about the future. You might become nostalgic for school, feel like friends are passing you by and basically that this whole 'twenties' thing wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
A young person's life can be much more stressful than it appears. Messy relationships, money woes, career dilemmas and friend dramas all play major parts in these developing years of our lives, while often topped off with a resounding, "What am I doing with my life?" hanging over your head. If this sounds familiar, congrats- you've joined the legions of youngsters suffering under the dreaded QLC.
"It's a period of transition," said Amy*, a recently graduated D.I.T student. "You feel like clinging to your youth and the carefree college days, but you know deep down you have to grow up."
Even those still in college can feel the effects. Dealing with the stresses of college and the future, especially while living away from home, can have a huge effect on a person's mental health and well-being.
Studies have shown that on average, those at post-retirement age tend to be the happiest in society while young people tend to be a lot more anxious and depressed. An Australian study conducted last November showed that Aussies between the ages of 18-24, despite having the best medical health and fitness levels, had the worst psychological well-being out of any other group. This may or may not be linked to the fact that 18-24 year olds were the heaviest drinkers and smokers.
So how does one deal with the QLC?
It's important to know that you're not alone; do a search on Twitter or Tumblr and you'll find thousands of other people in the exact same position. The important thing is not to let it overwhelm you. As the wise saying goes (and by saying, I mean 'inspirational' quote stolen off Instagram) "Nothing will fuck up your twenties more than thinking you're supposed to have your shit together". As Amy added, "You can retain the youthful aspect, we're still mid-twenties after all."
Remember there's nothing a Disney movie and a cup of tea won't fix, but if things are becoming overwhelming, reach out and talk to someone. A friend or family member, someone independent like the Samaritans - admitting you're struggling is nothing to be ashamed of. (And neither is devouring a Pot Noodle at ten in the morning watching Friends re-runs.)
*Amy's name has been changed
Photo: Sara V/ Flickr