Quarter-Life Crisis

Sarah-Jane Marshall wrote the following here: http://www.licc.org.uk/engaging-with-culture/connecting-with-culture/health/quarterlife-crisis-1355#fb-comments

Dave turned 30 recently, didn’t he? How’s he getting on?’

‘Not great – he’s having a bit of a quarter-life crisis.’

The quarter-life crisis is a growing phenomenon. Recent research found that an increasing number of young adults are experiencing the insecurities, disappointments and depression usually associated with a mid-life crisis.

In many ways it’s not surprising that the thirtieth birthday milestone, a quarter of the way through adult life, is a common trigger point. The landmark junctures in life are often where we have pinned a set of hopes and expectations: ‘By thirty I will be married.’ ‘By thirty I will have saved enough for a deposit on a house.’ ‘By thirty I will have progressed in my career to that more desirable role.’ Crises come when such ambitions have not been met, or when they don’t look as we had imagined.

The research has sparked a flurry of debate online about how one should cope with a quarter-life crisis. Typical advice encourages sufferers to throw off any restraints that are contributing to their dissatisfaction. Quit the job! Go traveling! Dye your hair! Be the person you’ve always wanted to be! Or, as one influential American blogger put it, ‘Above all else, remember that you are living your life for you and you alone.’

There are situations in which proactive change should be encouraged; for those in dead end jobs or destructive relationships, crises can be turned into life-giving opportunities for constructive change. Indeed, the research concluded that for the majority of people there was a ‘proven pattern of positive change’. Nevertheless, the typical solutions offered can too often be aggressively individualistic, casually irresponsible and surface-level. The traveler’s tan will fade, the hair dye will grow out, and the same insecurities must be faced all over again. A deeper change is needed.

It can be difficult when life doesn’t work out as we had hoped or expected. The factors causing quarter-life crises are not trivial or to be dismissed lightly. But each crisis offers opportunity for a radical realignment of how we view success, achievements and our identity. We are forced to recognise the things we have held to for security over and above the knowledge that we are dearly beloved children of the King of Heaven. May crises at whatever stage of our lives only fling us deeper into the reality of that truth.

  1. #1 by Pete on June 8, 2012 - 3:08 pm

    I turned 30 last year without getting married, buying a house or having a sound financial basis. Good thing my identity is in Christ!

  2. #2 by Emmaus At Twilight on June 9, 2012 - 5:13 pm

    I believe I will be the same . . . . !

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