At one point the only crisis that was widely known was the mid life crisis, which occurs during the middle of someones life (40-50 depending on how you look at it), in which they panic about their achievements, goals, where their life is going and just generally everything.
The media sort of display it through big purchases (i.e. fancy sports cars) or someone quitting their job suddenly, and in some cases even through straight up hysterical behaviour. As our life expectancy has risen, and different sections in the process of ageing has taken place (think about how a teenager never existed), we’re now seeing a similar sort of crisis happen at a much earlier age and this is the quarter life crisis.
If you’re younger than 40 and are reading this post you probably already know what I’m talking about because you’ve experienced this and it’s honestly not fun. It’s usually defined by a feeling of not knowing where you’re heading, feeling hopeless, comparing yourself to people your own age who have ‘achieved great things’ and generally just a constant existential crisis.
I remember being knee’s deep in my quarter life crisis a few years back and just feeling like a failure. I didn’t have the ‘good job’ that everyone expected me to achieve straight out of university, and even though I never visioned a life with marriage and kids, the fact that people around me were doing this and getting praised for it felt a bit weird and did add to this. Which again was weird, I was genuinely happy for them and still am, but the fact that I’d been brainwashed from such a young age to define my life through the rigid set of goals which include a family is hard to undo.
I also have sets of responsibilities that other people don’t have which sort of come with being the oldest girl in a Somali family. The luxury of living for yourself and not worrying about your family all the time is something I didn’t realise loads of people had until I went to university. The concept of people not having to help raise their parents kids and feel responsible for them is still kind of foreign to me to this day and I live with endless jealousy of those who don’t feel this kind of pressure.
So personally my quarter life crisis had different layers to it, but for the most part from a lot of the conversations I’ve had with friends going through the same struggle the essence seems to be a feeling of being lost. Whether it’s in terms of career and doing a job that not only satisfies you but also pays you, or in life through other achievements like marriage, buying a car and owning a property. Personally I feel like the economic crisis’s we keep having has kind of just set a lot of this pressure on fire, so a lot of these goals are harder to achieve.
Honestly it’s all a bit of a mess, part of it is to do with societal pressure, some of it is cultural pressure and honestly the fact that everyone was told to achieve their dreams as a kid might also partly to blame because we weren’t prepared for the actual outside world, but who knows, that might be the pessimistic side of me coming out.