A twenty-something in a quarter-life crisis

Written by Jessie James

Those of us who are finding their way into their mid-twenties may be experiencing what is now becoming known as the ‘mid-twenties crisis.’ This quarter-life crisis may have crept up on

Those of us who are finding their way into their mid-twenties may be experiencing what is now becoming known as the ‘mid-twenties crisis.’ This quarter-life crisis may have crept up on you or on your friends and is most discernable through its numerous symptoms.

You may recognise one or several of the following—undertaking seemingly random work experience, flying to different parts of the world to ‘find yourself,’ deciding to start a Masters course for no particular reason, spending time on the internet creating an online presence rather than working on looking for a job.

An uncertain territory

Sound familiar?  I have thought or acted on most of these impulses in the last six months and I have concluded several reasons why our mid-twenties are so difficult in the modern world.

First of all, from a young age we are encouraged to go through school, sixth form and then University with the belief that a career would form in our minds and we would be offered a job on this career ladder. While this happened for some fortunate (and hard-working) people, for thousands others      (including myself) the perfect career has never formed a clear image in our minds and we are left an abyss of confusion.

After the security of education has subsided, we are abandoned in the outside world without knowing which direction to go and how to get there. It seems we left finding this career too late, hopeful that we would stumble upon our purpose. Thus follows the mid-twenties crisis, like a pin-ball we bounce from idea to idea with no real direction or decision made.

Secondly, I believe we know too much about other people. The internet, and especially Facebook, has provided us with a forum to show off how ‘well’ we are doing. In most cases, this means travelling to far-flung corners of the Earth or sipping wine in a hotel restaurant (paid for by their kind boss).

If we did not know how someone we barely spoke to whilst at school, University or a colleague from our first job was feeling, what they were doing or where they were going every day we would not consider ourselves ‘inadequate.’ The assumption that so many others are performing well above our own abilities plagues the mid-twenty crisis victim.

Falling behind

It is far too easy to forget that most people only display on Facebook, Twitter and so many other social networking platforms the interesting aspects of their lives. I’m sure you agree the last time you were reading in the library, stalking a Facebook profile or eating at McDonald’s really wasn’t interesting enough to share with the world.

Finally, if you’re feeling the mid-twenties crisis creeping over you, it’s likely you’ve got to that age where you feel the younger generation are over-taking you. When we were young whippersnappers, six to seven years ago, we knew we were the next generation of possibilities. We could be the next footballer who earns over a million pounds a week or a pop-star who’s a world-wide phenomenon; we knew we were young enough to be the next-big-thing.

While neither of these have happened to the millions of us watching Take Me Out on a Saturday night, it is happening to a smug 16 year old with an ounce of talent and some fortunate connections. In my view, we aren’t ‘past it’ but we feeling like we are ‘past-some-of-it.’

Sadly, chances are for most of us those dreams are dying out at a fast pace and we have to accept that we won’t be a child genius. Due to this, it is hardly surprising the twenty-something is struggling with age and a sense of inadequacy.

So, there you have it. In my view, we were doomed to have this existential crisis and like the mid-life crisis we are left flailing and confused at the point of it all.

What do you think? Are there more reasons why the mid-twenties have become a crisis waiting to happen? Have your say in the comments section below.