Quarter Life Crisis … is there such a thing?

photo from http://www.topnews.in

Sorry for the long absence in my column dear readers. I am, like most youngsters, incapable of managing my time well. I am sure that if any of you who are parents to kids my age (I am twenty-one), or somebody younger, would agree that one major source of quarrels with them is how they would manage their time. I for one had my own fair share of scolding from my mom, due to this. My only excuse is that I am busy with my studies (haha!).

Then again, as my mother would always say, “there are no excuses when it comes to meeting your responsibilities.” She’s right but those who are young (relatively) and are reading this column may perhaps agree with me that when it comes to arguments nobody could beat a mother. I do believe most husbands out there would also agree (hahaha). My mother even has a scientific explanation for this.

Since you agree with me, now let us talk of a more pressing issue. Have any of you heard of the phrase “quarter life crisis (QLC)”? It is related to the midlife crisis except that it happens during the first 25 years or so, or thereabouts, depending on some personal circumstances. QLC has been recognized as one of the most devastating phenomenon to hit the youth in this country (in any other country, in fact) and, I was told, many of us are not even aware it exists.

So you may think that I am exaggerating? Guilty I may be of melodramatics sometimes but on this issue you could say I am even understating it. I did not even know of it until a friend literally hit me with it, when he pointed out some symptoms exhibited by a friend. He simply said, while we were drinking coffee and eating doughnuts in a pub, that some people our age have QLC in the making. I was caught with my mouth open, figuratively speaking. If not for that comment, some of my friends, or even I myself, could have slumped to a long depression, or worse, make rash decisions and yet remain clueless.

Actually, this phenomenon is quite new to the medical phraseology. According to Wikipedia, the first book to identify this phenomenon was published only as recently as 2001 in a book entitled “Quarter life Crisis, the Unique Challenges of Life in your Twenties, coauthored by Abby Wilner and Alexandra Robbins. Since then, a few accounts are now coming out and some blogs are dedicated to it.

What is “quarter life crisis”? It is characterized as a period of personal, emotional turmoil and coping challenges that some people encounter when they reach the period of life immediately following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the early twenties to the early thirties. The term is named by analogy to mid-life crisis (the “crisis” faced by those in their late 40’s and early 50’s).

Below is a list, provided for by Wikipedia, of symptoms of a quarter life crisis:

  • realizing that the pursuit of one’s peers are useless
  • confronting their own mortality
  • watching time slowly take its toll on their parents, only to realize they are next
  • insecurity regarding the fact that their actions are meaningless
  • insecurity concerning ability to love themselves, let alone another person
  • insecurity regarding present accomplishments
  • lack of friendships or romantic relationships, sexual frustration, and involuntary celibacy
  • disappointment with one’s job
  • nostalgia for university, college, high school or elementary school life
  • tendency to hold stronger opinions
  • boredom with people and with constantly hanging around with the same routine
  • loss of closeness to high school and college friends
  • financially-rooted  stress
  • loneliness, depression and suicidal tendencies
  • desire to have children
  • a sense that everyone is, somehow, doing better than you

Wikipedia further puts forward that “These unsettling emotions and insecurities are not uncommon at this age, nor at any age in adult life. In the context of the quarter-life crisis, however, they occur shortly after a young person – usually an educated professional, in this context – enters the “real world”. After entering adult life and coming to terms with its responsibilities, some individuals find themselves experiencing career stagnation or extreme insecurity. The individual often realizes the real world is tougher, more competitive and less forgiving than they imagined. Furthermore, the qualifications they have spent so much time and money earning are not likely to prepare them for this disillusionment.”

The sad reality is that the two major factors that affect QLC are the economic mess that we have in our country and second the overpopulation. Since we have a very rich country with very poor economy and government system, the government can’t provide jobs for the people. The youth, especially young professionals, have a hard time finding neither good nor earning jobs, nor any job in many cases. The overpopulation exacerbates the problem further, since there are just too many young graduates every year competing for the same position. Then, there is the kind of education the youth are getting and the kind of society they are getting into after graduation.

So you may ask, how should we deal with QLC, then? Well, the answer is such a cliché, actually, that you probably already know the answer to it. Love and guidance. The real question, however, is how do we love and to where do we guide these people?

I guess nobody would also disagree with me when I say that youth is the future of the nation. Whatever loving and guiding we do for them today will certainly go a long way towards making the future of this country better. Therefore, QLC is not just a real personal issue but a social issue of great importance. ###

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