Sunday, January 1, 2012

Is There a Quarter-Life Crisis? (Revisited)

Here are some signs that you might be experiencing a quarter-life crisis:

  1. A love relationship doesn't solve the problem of having to also have a life.
  2. Your parents want you to pay rent.
  3. Whatever you studied in any school didn't seem to include what you really need to know.
  4. You begin to wonder if anyone knows it.
  5. You investigate various spiritual paths and mentors.  These help briefly, then you move on.
  6. You discover that following your dreams is harder than you first thought it would be, especially if you also want to be independent, make your own rules, and eat.

And you justifiably believe that you have not contributed in any way to your problems.  You've done EVERYTHING you were supposed to do:  grew up, went to school, graduated from college, and looked for a job.  Since you haven't contributed to your problems, you do not believe your own actions will solve them.

Is the quarter-life crisis different from the mid-life crisis?

Yes.  If you experience the quarter-life crisis, you might fight with everyone who has helped you and be angry at the system they seem to have created.  The quarter-life crisis lasts until you find a place where you can more or less function, a "club," let's say, willing to have you as a member.  This "club" can be a company, job, spouse, religion, band, cause, political party, or purpose.  Within this club, you begin to flourish as a person.  You get opportunities and take on responsibilities.  You discover and develop more of your strengths, abilities, and interests.  You grow into your life.

At mid-life, you might begin to feel that the job, spouse, or religion that took you in during your quarter-life crisis spoke to only one part of you.  The secret or hidden life that you've suppressed so that you will fit into the club now needs expression.

The quarter-life crisis involves finding your place in the world.  The mid-life crisis involves expressing your most authentic self.

Is there also a three-quarter life crisis?  I don't know yet.
Can there be a zero-crisis life?  I don't think so.
Are these crises bad?  No, they are good and necessary -- but difficult.

1 comment:

  1. Comment from William: I just got off the phone with a friend who seems to be going through one of those pretty strongly. Luckily I could sympathize and share experiences, since I had it pretty badly myself after college graduation. I may have it again within months for all I know! Crisis of the privileged? Maybe. But as you said, "I don't want to diminish it." Suffering is suffering and it's dissipation is a beautiful thing.