early midlife crisis

Early midlife crisis? No, it’s called a quarter life crisis

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early midlife crisisThe difference between a Quarter-Life Crisis and a Midlife Crisis

If you’ve ever experienced feelings of confusion, frustration, and uncertainty regarding your life, it may feel like an early midlife crisis. But if you are in your 20s or 30s, it’s called a quarter life crisis.

Many people are familiar with the term midlife crisis as it relates to people who want a life change after years of commitment.

But how does a midlife crisis differ from a quarter-life crisis? Let’s explore that.

Age of Crisis Occurrence

The first major difference between a quarter-life and mid-life crisis has to do with the age at which it occurs. The mid-life crisis typically occurs for people in their 40s and 50s, when they start noticing how they have physically and mentally changed since the first stage of their lives. A quarter-life crisis, on the other hand, happens between the ages of 20 and 40 as a person becomes aware of the uncertainty that lies ahead.

Causes of the Crises

The term “midlife crisis” has been around since the 1960s. In those days it was common for individuals to start their careers early, and stick with a job for a substantial amount of time. These workers were relatively satisfied with their lives until they reached a certain age. Then they came to see they were being replaced or pushed out by the younger generation. Increases in health problems and a loss of youthful vigor start to sink in for people in their 40s and 50s. These thoughts cause stress. And, they can directly motivate actions that signify a mid-life crisis.

Changes in career trends and the way people communicate have opened the door for the quarter-life crisis. This is perhaps why the millennials are the first generation to fully experience the quarter-life crisis on a widespread basis.

Young adults are now forced to make serious decisions about their lives at a younger age, and there is an increased pressure for success caused, in part, by a comparisons to others’ social media accounts.

The global marketplace is rapidly expanding and technology is speeding up every aspect of our lives. It can feel overwhelming for those attempting to design a life plan. It can be hard to overcome a quarter-life crisis, but the first step is to recognize the signs.

Midlife crisis vs quarter life crisis

Quarter-life and midlife crises are subjective, so people will react in different ways and experience different emotions depending on personality and circumstance.

A midlife crisis is characterized by realizations that life is fleeting, and feelings of dissatisfaction with the current state of things. Those with a mid-life crisis may act out by cheating on their spouse or purchasing items that make them feel reckless, such as expensive sports cars.

Many mid-lifers have increased concern for their health and take up new habits to get in better shape. Sufferers may make attempts to look and feel younger. They might seek out plastic surgery, new clothes, hair implants, or develop a sudden interest in nightlife.

Signs of a quarter life crisis

Alternatively, typical signs of the quarter-life crisis include attempts to buckle down and get serious about the next moves in your life.  Young adults feel pressure to be both sustainably happy and successful. This is perhaps due to the fear of getting stuck with a mid-life crisis down the road.

They could feel as though they have wasted time or money working toward something that is not satisfying or fulfilling their goals. Many people with a quarter-life crisis get trapped by the paradox of choice. They have so many options available, so choosing the right one seems nearly impossible.

Lastly, people experiencing a quarter life crisis may feel regretful about the time they’ve spent having fun. They may have also developed a desire to make a real impact on the world.

Whatever the causes and signs of the crisis, it can be comforting to know you are not alone. It’s perfectly normal to have feelings of uncertainty as a young adult or fears of fleeting youth later on. If you are experiencing the signs of a quarter-life crisis, take the quarter life crisis quiz. Or read more about what a quarter life crisis might look and feel like, and what to do about it.

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