“Why do I feel anxious when I should be enjoying my youth?”
The twenties can be seen as a vital time full of opportunities. Especially if we compare it with other ages, we can think of it as a moment of youth, energy, fun and / or experimentation in the absence of responsibilities typical of late adulthood (children, mortgages …).
However, the so-called “millennials” (born between 1981 and 1999) do not always feel as positive emotions as might be expected in this scenario.
What is the crisis of the quarter of life?
American psychologist Abby Wilner and journalist Alexandra Robbins coined the term “quarter-life crisis” in their book of the same name, published in 2001.
Both refer by this term to the state of confusion and the feelings of being lost and trapped that can appear in the twenties and lead to a rethinking of lifestyle, including changes in friendships, partners and vocations.
Why can we experience a crisis when we reach 25 years of age?
The economic and social uncertainty, the awareness of the difficulties in becoming independent from the family of origin and being autonomous, the possible disappointments in the face of immersion in the world of work, the differences between the life that one believed that one would have At this age and the one that you really have, doubts about your own performance and abilities in the face of social demands for perfection and success … These are some of the aspects that have been related to experiencing a crisis when reaching the stage between 25 and 30 years old.
The society in which we live, highly mediated and exposed on social networks, has established models of “perfect life” accessible 24 hours a day by simply having a mobile phone with an Internet connection. We have models regarding how to dress, how to do our hair, how our body should be, how we should have fun, what we have to eat, where we should work and where to travel to be accepted and considered successful.
This can create a very great pressure, which we can better handle later in life. In fact, there are studies that have confirmed that the presence of negative affect emotions (anxiety, sadness, stress, anguish, etc.) is greater in young people than in older people.
What are the fundamental aspects of the crisis of the quarter of life?
These are the typical signs and symptoms of this psychological phenomenon:
1. The search for a perfect job
Studies have found that young people are especially focused on achieving a perfect work situation. This includes finding new jobs, better paid, with fewer hours, with higher status, better relationships with colleagues and with less stress. This can lead to a continuous state of tension, anxiety and worry.
2. Awareness and involvement in social and health issues
Experts coincide in stating that young people are highly aware of the problems that exist in society and of those they will have to face both economically, socially and even ecologically in the future.
It has also been noted that young people are fully aware of their own state of tension and try to reduce stress through specific activities, such as yoga, meditation, going to the gym or simply resting for a while in bed and sleep.
3. The prioritization of independence
Compared to older people, studies suggest that twentysomethings place a premium on their independence. This means developing individual skills that allow autonomy at all levels, although there is a risk of falling into extreme individuality.
Experts have found that millennials describe personal relationships as an area to foster in order to achieve personal satisfaction less often than people in their 40s or 50s. Achieving a successful career seems to have become the priority in the creation of a family, compared to previous generations. In addition, the data suggest that young people do not go out or meet their peers as much as one would expect, and even in relation to older people.
4. False spirituality
Studies have detected that interest in spiritual aspects (understood as the need to transcend and self-realization) appears at a later age. In addition, they indicate a current tendency to seek satisfaction in material and fast aspects, when not fleeting. This aspect contrasts with spirituality based on deep and connected aspects, which can only be achieved in the long term.
In summary, the 25-year-old (or quarter-life) crisis is more common than it may seem a priori. It is related to generational aspects, but also to the social, economic and ecological situation in the world today.
The form and duration of the transition to adulthood has changed in recent years and can lead to disappointments and frustrations if what we expected our life to be does not match our reality. In addition, the lack of certainties, uncertainty and awareness of all the problems that will have to be faced in the future, can also influence the appearance of a state of tension and anxiety.
Given this, we can remain blocked or we can try to resignify this state of crisis as an opportunity to make the necessary changes so that our life is closer to what we want. Crises are a good time to rethink our priorities and values. In addition, in the light of the studies, it may be especially relevant to evaluate to what extent we are focusing on work aspects, leaving relational aspects (whether around the partner, family or friends) and spiritual aspects for later. linked to satisfaction and self-realization.