According to science, like the studies conducted by Dr Oliver Robinson at the University of Greenwich, there are 4 main phases of the QLC. Firstly you feel "locked" to a job or relationship, or both. Secondly, you begin feeling a growing sense that change is possible. Thirdly, you embark on a period of rebuilding your life. Finally, you begin to cement those new commitments.
Science is all well and good, but personally those 4 stages sound far too clean-cut and objective. So we've come up with our own tell-tale signs. If these apply to you, then you probably are having a QLC:
1. You've moved 7 times in the last 4 year, and have had just as many boyfriends. Permanence is a myth in your life right now, and the thought of committing to anything for longer than 3 months fills you with dread but is also the main thing you pine over.
2. You're not sure whether to class yourself as an adult or a twenty-something. Or if being a twenty-something means you are, in fact, an adult. Britney's "I'm not a girl, not yet a woman" lyric has never been more applicable.
3. You have a constant internal monologue that weighs up the pros and cons of your life choices. Do you travel and 'find yourself' or start climbing the career ladder? Also, how can you do either of those things when you're broke and under qualified? Sh*t.
4. You get unfathomably upset when you don't get asked for ID. Gone are the days when you'd be pissed off that the bouncer questioned you (and your fake ID), now you practically beg.
5. You have a lot of short-lived spurts of inspiration. You'll decide one week that you're going to write a novel, get up at 5am every morning for 7 days and write before work. The next week you spiral and decide that none of it is worth it and you may as well spend your free time sleeping.
6. You are extremely jealous of everyone who isn't the same age as you. You don't look at babies with fondness anymore, nay, you look at they with distain. Why? Because they don't realise how easy they've got it. Also, you wish, every morning before work, that you were your cat.
7. You don't know how taxes work, but you do them anyway. You also realise that most of your income goes on food and alcohol. Which, btw, you can no longer metabolise at the same rate nor handle. Hangovers are now a 3 day affair.
Do these sound familiar? If they do, don't worry you're not alone. A large majority of the Y generation are in the same boat. We're the generation who seemingly have success and fortune at our fingertips (thanks, Mark Zuckerberg) yet have been given zero guidance or instruction about how to obtain it. The old format of success that our parents followed no longer applies, because the most successful people in our generation are YouTube beauty gurus and tech geniuses who create dating apps. Life for millennials who are reaching for success is like a chipmunk trying to become President of the USA. Although, to be fair, if Trump can be in the running a chipmunk sounds like the more sane option.
Thus far this all looks bleak. But there are positives. Firstly, we're all in it together. Secondly, the definition of 'success' has changed. Our parents saw 'getting on the property ladder' as an important milestone, but for us, that isn't feasible. So rather than feeling like failures because we can't afford a house and don't have a pension, we should realise that it's bloody tough out there and we're doing our best. We're creating new formats to find success through- because the old ones don't work anymore.
Keep going, a Quarter Life Crisis is somewhat inevitable but you'll come out the other side a better person. Why? Because although the QLC isn't a fun experience it does mean that you're seriously reconsidering certain life choices and reevaluating what's important to you. It's good to be selfish occasionally, especially when it comes to what we want from life/relationships/work.
If all else fails, there is always wine.
Photo Credit: Pinterest
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