Quarter Life Crisis – A Realization

Thinking about the life so far, Rohan couldn’t resist but go insomniac about the things he has achieved and things he could have achieved. Rohan is a young, 25-something working professional who recently realized that how confused he has been during the last few years. Being young and restless is one of the attribute of this Gen-Y gang but it was something different in his case. Spending sleepless nights thinking about the current stage of his life, planning a lot and doing nothing about it, feeling uncomfortable about what could have been possible rather than being in this state of mind, fighting his own ever raising doubts about future, exploring hard about oneself and getting no answer and finding depression & disappointments in everything are few of the symptoms he is showing and is concerned about.

A realization

Quarter Life Crisis - A Realization

He wonder, what is missing and what went wrong but ain’t getting any answers. Many a times, he finds himself in deep thoughts figuring out the reasons for his unknown anxiety and sadness. He isn’t getting any satisfaction from his personal or professional life. A lot of changes are occurring on both the fronts but not as per his dreams. Is it the dreams not turning into reality or reality sucking more than expected?

He was going restless and thought if any of these are symptoms of any mental disorder or imbalance. But going to a psychiatrist will definitely prove him a mental patient, was the next thought he gets every time he thinks about such situation.

On one such dark discomforting night, he was lying on his bed in a room with nothing but walls and a 15 watt bulb not even glowing in full voltage. He lit up his cigarette and went into these thoughts, trying to view his life through the smoke moving up the ceiling in a ghostly way.

‘Why the things are going the way they are? Did I make any such decision which could have led me here? Why is this happening to me? Or does this happen to everything of my age? Why I don’t have a true friend? Why even after so many years, I am not into any relationship?’ questions flying from one direction to another in the smoke and fading out even before he could read their answers. He wished if there were someone who could solve his mystery.

‘He never knew who he was, even on the day he left the world’

He heard a whisper from the back of his ear. He sat back immediately and saw left and right to find who could be the one who said this. No one but the smoke of his cigarette was there to accompany him there. He went back to bed, after finishing the cigarette. In no time, after a long time, he slept so easily in minutes.

Ringing alarm was the next thing, he heard and the new day was there again. He finished all his daily morning jobs and was about to leave for office. Just then the annoying bell rang; he went to the door and found a girl standing at the doorsteps. Nothing so striking about the girl but a smile which was like a million dollar but not available object anyone could have wished for.

‘Good morning Sir, do you have anything you want to donate?’

‘Sorry, I am in hurry right now.’

‘No problem Sir, I can come any other time. We are working for the upliftment of the poor and old people. They will bless you if you will help them.’

‘Sure. Not this time. I have to leave right now for a meeting. Please visit some other time, may be on Saturday, evening 7PM?’

‘Sure Sir.’

As soon as he locked the door and came out of his building, it was dark. He got confused and shocked to see this, is it a thunderstorm or something? He looked at his watch and it was showing time 6:59 PM.

‘What just happened?’

He went back to his flat. Again the bell rang. The same girl was standing there, smiling.

‘Good evening Sir. You asked me to come on Saturday’

‘Yes. But I am not able to recall the whole week. It’s like, we just met minutes ago.’

‘Sometimes life drives like this.’

‘So what were you telling me about that day (I suppose, that day is not this day)’

‘Yes Sir, we are working professionals putting some of our time to volunteer and help poor and old people live a better life.’

‘That’s a great work. So how can I help in this regard?’

‘What we do is that we talk to young people and ask them if they want to join us in this mission or can help us by providing any sort of donation in cash or clothes. This will help move our mission in direction and give them the peace of mind and satisfaction.’

‘Frankly speaking, I don’t believe in donation and this NGO sort of things.’

‘I know Sir, we find a lot of people who believe so, but you can yourself work and see that your money or donation is being used in a proper way.’

‘No. No. You didn’t get me. I was saying, right now even I am not able to support my life, who am I and how could I help someone else? Leave this, BTW, what do you do?’

‘I am a psychiatrist doing my internship in Healthwise Hospital.’


Rohan somehow got the feeling, is it just a coincident or destiny that while he was thinking to visit a psychiatrist, one of them is sitting just in front of him.

‘I think, I may not be able to help you in this regard but you certainly can help me in my problem’

‘Sorry, I didn’t get you?’

Rohan went through a long description about his situation and explained the unsettled emotions and insecurities he is facing from last few years.

‘Rohan, I think, you understood your condition. Have you ever read anything about Quarter life Crisis?’

‘Quarter Life Crisis? What is that?’

‘The quarter life crisis is a term applied to the period of life immediately following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the late teens to the early thirties. But mostly referred to the age between 25 to 35 and the state in which the person feels during this time’

‘So you are saying this Quarter life Crisis happens in everyone’s life?’

‘Not really but actually mostly. Let me explain this to you in details. Look there.’

He saw a smoke screen in front of him. He was a bit amazed and shocked but as he was more interested in knowing about this crisis, he ignored the special effects happening around him.

Sentences came from left and right explaining the characteristics of Quarter life crisis:

a.       Not feeling driven to achieve anything more.
b.      Not achieved that one has dreamt of.
c.       Thinking to change job or profession.
d.      Not interested in the hobbies one had earlier.
e.      Lost and confused every time.
f.        Realization that the quarter of one’s life hasn’t contributed much for his existence.
g.       How one is different from others.
h.      Struggling to find place in this world.
i.         Exhausting goals very early on. Want to move on the ladder faster.
j.        Nervous and insecure about the future.
k.       Not getting enough time to do something one always wanted to do.
l.         Self questioning.
m.    Over analyzing things.
n.      Missing something every time but don’t know what.
o.      What am I doing?
p.      Should I get married now?
q.      Young age passing by very fast.
r.        Not having trustworthy and true friends.
s.       Not being in a relationship.
t.        Struggling to cope with anxieties about jobs, unemployment and debts.
u.      Loneliness.
v.       Not earning enough to match own and others expectations.
w.     Feeling weak health wise and will power wise.
x.        Lack of excitement in life.
y.       Lack of motivation.
z.       Interesting in everything and committed/specialist in nothing.

‘Hey, This A-Z exactly explains my condition. But I feel some other things too. ’

1.       Insecurity concerning ability to love oneself or somebody else.
2.       Insecurity regarding present accomplishments.
3.       Re-evaluation of close interpersonal relationships.
4.       Nostalgia about college, school, fun time.
5.       Boredom with social interactions.
6.       Desire to have children.
7.       A sense that others are doing better than oneself.
8.       Realization that the real world is tougher, more competitive and less forgiving than I imagined.
9.       Not able to support family in financial terms and emotional terms.
10.   Lack of maturity.

‘Does this mean I am a severe case of Quarter life crisis?’, tensed Rohan looked more puzzled.

‘Don’t panic Rohan. Quarter life crisis is not a disease or disorder. It is just a phase of life which about 1/3rd of 25-35 years old face.’

‘Phase of life? So, you are saying one has to go through such difficult phase normally.’

‘Let me put it this way. Till age 12, you are considered to be a kid, no tension, no problem. All play no work except the homework which is part of learning process. Then comes the teenage 13-19, where our body goes through a lot of changes and we wonder why all this is happening, we were better as kids. But then you love being teenager. In one sense, you find a better way out of your teenage problems. Then comes the age when we are the college going, dreaming big, and planning extra ordinary life people. Where everything is just so filmy and nice, we feel like life is wonderful and we will make something great and different out of it.’

‘Exactly. So you study these things in psychiatry?’

‘It is just a part of it.’

‘What comes next?’

‘Then comes the phase, where you are out of college, struggling to find yourself a job. Some find job, some create jobs. Experiment with different profession, till they find their way. But one is sort of happy during these days too. Because they feel they are doing something they have never tried. Work.’

‘Yes, during the initial days of my career, I felt the same. I had no anxiety of this sort but now all of sudden everything is flipping upside down. ’

‘You are talking about the next phase which is part of quarter life crisis. Let me explain you this phase in parts.’

Part 1:
Feeling “locked in” to a job or relationship, or both. It is an illusory sense of being trapped, in which you can easily come out but you can’t.

Part 2:
Then there is intensified sense that change is possible. This leads to mental and physical separation from the previous situation and emotional upheaval. Some may feel being caught in a loop, some may take it as the exploration of new possibilities.

Part 3:
Then decisions related to rebuilding of life should be taken.

Part 4:
Then cementing of fresh commitments that reflect new interests, aspirations and values should be done.

‘So you are saying that even this situation can be overcome and it includes a time which builds and redefines a new life, a better life.’

‘Definitely there is always some positive in every negative thinking.’

‘You’re kidding. Right?’

‘Not negative. I would say, you can find opportunity in every difficult situation, being a optimist.’

‘That sounds theoretical. ’

‘Actually, this sort of crisis happens when you stop going along with the crowd and start realizing that there are a lot of things about yourself that you didn’t know and may or may not like. You start feeling insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get scared because you barely know where you are now. When you look at your job, it is not even close to what you thought you would be doing and realizing that you are going to have to start at the bottom and are scared. Suddenly you realize that you have certain boundaries in your life. You feel alone and scared and confused. Earlier you were always looking for change in life, and suddenly change is the enemy. ‘

‘Wait, wait, wait … I guess you know a lot of this stuff. Do you really know so much about people and their behavior at every phase of life?’

‘People learn it the hard way going through the life journey. We on the other hand, learn it theoretically and experiment it on people, though we too have to pass through this journey. What people may not realize is that everyone goes through it. We are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we can to figure this whole thing out.’

‘That helped. So I am not the only one facing this.’

‘Happy to help. ’, she smiled and looked at the painting hanging behind Rohan, ‘So, you are also an art lover. This is from which painter’s collection?’

Rohan turned back to view the painting and said, ‘This is one of its kinds from the talented Kailash Manohar. ’ And looked back toward front. To his surprise, there was this wall in front of him from his bedroom and he found himself lying on his bed. He looked at the watch; it was 6:59 AM. He got up from his bed and realized that it was his dream. But somehow, he felt, he has got answers to his questions.

He went to redesign his life and lived a life which took him to another crisis, the ‘Mid Life Crisis’.

To be continued…

*This story is written after reading newspaper/blog articles on quarter life crisis. Along with some research done through google search around the term. Please consider this as credit to all of them.

4 Responses

  1. Bang on……With a nice article!!

    Good one, Bana….I like the analysis!!! 🙂

  2. Thx KK … 🙂

  3. A bloody attempt.. Bravo bhai !!!

  4. @weirdPatch … thanx mate ..

    Have posted sequel to this in a new post after your encouragement …

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