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Quarter-Life Crisis | Moving on After 25


Quarter-Life Crisis | Moving on After 25


Are you in the crossroad of life? Are you immensely worried about your life to the point of being anxious and distressed? Is your age somewhere between 25 to 35? Watch out! You could be having a quarter-life crisis!

Not too long ago, life crisis is stereotypically associated with midlife. You could have a fairly good idea about what a midlife crisis is, but nothing could have prepared you for a life crisis at age 25 to mid-30s. Yes, you are hearing right. These days, those affected by life crisis are younger than ever. Millennials are discovering this the hard way.

It is undeniable that 25 to 35 can be an important time for people. Finally emerging from an adolescence that could have been choppy, confusing and challenging, you are now ready to embark on a new phase in your life – that of a young adult. Single and enjoying so many opportunities and options, the “world is your oyster!” Unfortunately, modern life isn’t a “bed of roses.” It can be filled with challenges that can consume and leave you disappointed, disillusioned and feeling trapped in the “quarter-life crisis.”


“Grown Up,” Crisis after 25: What Is It?

Experts describe quarter-life crisis as a predicament that “involves anxiety over the direction and quality of their life.” This is often experienced by people who are gripped by insecurities, doubt and concern about their future and options. It implausibly comes about younger in this generation – that of millennials in their 20s to mid-30s. Alex Fowke, a clinical psychologist, describes quarter-life crisis as as “a period of insecurity, doubt and disappointment surrounding your career, relationships and financial situation”. If you are distressed and worried because of challenges in the various aspects of life as a grown up, you could be experiencing the quarter-life crisis.


A study has been presented to the British Psychological Society through New Scientists, revealing that the quarter-life crisis has five phases, and these are as follows:


  • Phase 1 – A feeling of being trapped by your life choices. Feeling as though you are living your life on autopilot.
  • Phase 2 – A rising sense of “I’ve got to get out” and the feeling that you can change your life.
  • Phase 3 – Quitting the job or relationship or whatever else is causing you to feel trapped and embarking on a “time out” period where you try out new experiences to find out who you want to be.
  • Phase 4 – Rebuilding your life.
  • Phase 5 – Developing new commitments more attuned to your interests and aspirations.


What can lead you to the path of the great “quarter storm” in your life? According to a study by LinkedIn, the most critical trigger is job frustration or dissatisfaction. An expert life coach says the ages between 25 to 35 is often “a time in our lives when we’ve been in our careers for a few years, but not long enough to see or feel the benefits yet.” The excessive worry may also emanate from not landing that “dream job” yet, or from being overworked but still being neck deep in student loans and the high cost of living.


Welcome to the Club

The quarter-life crisis can be alternatively referred to as the “millennium bug,” affecting a significant fraction of the young adult population. According to the LinkedIn study, it isn’t rare with about 75 percent of 25 to 33-year-olds going through the experience. Risk goes higher for certain millennials, depending on their biology and genes, environment, life events, and lifestyle. For instance, just like people who have depression in their blood/genes, the risk for quarter-life crisis can also be higher when there is a genetic predisposition for anxiety.

Being in the crisis is, therefore, very common and almost natural. Quarter-life crisis can be scary and overwhelming, as it can affect you in some significant ways, especially if you become deeply entrenched in your issues. According to Blair Decembrele of LinkedIn, “Going through this stressful period can lead those in their 20s and 30s to plan big career and life shifts that impact their professional world.” Those who cannot find the courage to be bold and decisive may find themselves greatly dissatisfied or frustrated. This can contribute to poor emotional health, becoming vulnerable to conditions like anxiety and depression, even poor self-esteem.

Do you wonder if you have the “millennial bug?” Early recognition of the signs is important, so that timely professional help can be sought. Some signs include:


  • Feeling lost, stuck or trapped, so that you cannot move on or make decisions, to facilitate change in your job or life.
  • Lacking the drive or motivation to see the world and face its vast challenges.
  • Daydreaming about your aspirations and what you perceive to be missing.
  • Comparing yourself with others, so that you feel ineffective and inadequate.
  • Being anxious about weddings and pregnancies, feeling left behind by peers and classmates.
  • Feeling worried that you are not earning enough for someone your age and with your background.
  • Often feeling nostalgic about a lot of things in the past – friendships, high school days, family, etc.


The Light at the End of the Tunnel

If you are going through a crisis as a young adult, it could be difficult to believe that it can have a “silver lining.” That is, however, what experts believe. It is not all “doom and gloom.” Like everything else in life, quarter-life crisis has two sides. This is the result gathered after asking 1000 young adults. In other words, with the right help or guidance, going through the crisis during the first quarter of your life could be advantageous.

What light can you positively expect after going through this dark tunnel or time in your life? Experts say that early crisis may prepare you for the challenges in life, resulting in your being more resilient and sharpening your survival instinct. This may mean that it can leave you less frustrated when you end up doing something else and not what you dream of doing. Consequently, the risk of developing a crisis in your midlife, which can lead to loss of identity, can become lower. With help and courage, you can take your life in a new direction.

How else can a quarter-life crisis be beneficial to you? Experts are of the opinion that it can be an inspiring reminder that change is a rule in every person’s life or that nothing is permanent. If you are successful, the crisis can humble you, letting you realize that you too can fail one day, if not now. Conversely, if you are frustrated, hope will never perish, knowing that things can improve for you.  You can turn your crisis into something encouraging and positive. One good way is to seek professional help when doubt starts to rule your thoughts.


Turning Your Crisis into a Better Life with Counseling

With your whole adult life ahead of you, it is natural to fuel your dreams and ambitions with zealousness. Unfortunately, plainly working hard isn’t enough at times. There many other things that may pave the way to your success. If many things are “not falling into the right places,” do not be discouraged. It is alright to feel overpowered, but do not let the feeling of hopelessness defeat you. Your quarter-life crises could be a turning point in your life. It could be the pivotal element to achieve your life goals and have a better life.

Successfully turning the crisis into opportunities takes more skills than what you may have. Do not feel hopeless and scared. You are not alone. A skilled counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC can be the ally that can help transform your crisis into opportunities. If the signs of a quarter-life crisis are palpable already, do not second-guess as to who to call. Contact CCS – Pinehurst, NC soon, so you can reap the benefits of turning around an early crisis and to have an enriching adulthood. Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC

Counties: Moore county, NC, Lee County, Hoke County, Chatham County

Areas: Pinehurst NC, West End NC, Taylortown NC, Seven Lakes NC, Eagle Springs NC, Jackson Springs NC, Foxfire NC, Candor NC, Norman NC, Ellerbe NC, Rockingham NC

Zip Codes: 27281, 27376, 28315, 28347, 28350, 28373, 28374, 28387, 28388, 28394

Kelly ErkenBrack, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 3+) Children, Teens, Adults, Couples and Families. Anxiety, Depression, Grief and Loss, Mood Disorders, Trauma, Adjustments and Life Transitions, ADHD, Behavioral Issues, Parenting, Relationship Concerns, Self Esteem
Insurance: BCBSTricare Prime/Select, Medicare and Cash
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Location: Pinehurst, NC

Robin Caswell, MSW, LCSW

Specializes in: (Ages 5+), Individuals, Adults, Anxiety, Depression, Grief, Loss, ADHD, ODD, Trauma/PTSD, LGBTQ, Self-Harm, Military Family Life, Mood Disorders, OCD, Phobias
Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare and Cash
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Location: Pinehurst, NC

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Carolina Counseling Services – Pinehurst, NC

45 Dowd Circle Suite 5
PinehurstNC 28374

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PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311