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Why So Many Millennials Are Having a Quarter-Life Crisis Right Now

Published on June 6, 2019 8:00 AM EST
Quarter Life Crisis

Wondering why so many millennials are going through a quarter-life crisis? According to research, more than half of millennials are experiencing this period of self doubt and insecurity that is causing them to question their career paths, relationships and life choices.

Just like the midlife crisis, the quarter life crisis can be devastating. Read on for some insights on why a majority of millennials are experiencing this crisis and discover what to do about it.

Quarter Life Crisis

Why many millennials are having a quarter life crisis 

1. Adulting Woes

Life can be tough and confusing for us millennials.

We spend our younger years wishing to taste the sweet, sweet freedom that comes from being able to be the boss of our life and make our own decisions:

“Can’t WAIT until I’m older so mom and dad can’t boss me around all over the place and make me do dumb chores!”

And then we spend our older years, well, grumbling about how we wish we had the delicious freedom that goes along with being young:

“Did you see that adorable little girl dancing around like no one’s watching? I wish I was that carefree and didn’t have to worry about making rent this month and having to pay for all those dang car repairs!”

We arrive into adulthood like it’s some sort of celebratory procession (now I can do whateva the “F” I want in my own studio apartment, woo hoo!) and shortly thereafter we get blindsided up the wazoo by all the bills, loan debt, and various assorted mundane adulting activities that come along with it.

Suddenly, our life centers around a mundane 9-5 job, some much-needed coffee, a happy hour here and there, some social media updates and uploads, all tightly mixed in with a trip to the grocery store every so often. (And WHY do I always seem to pick the checkout line that goes the slowest? Sigh.)

Your brain is still functioning, but your soul is in total zombie mode.

We can’t WAIT for the weekend. But it never comes soon enough.

2. Discovering Our Missing Piece

Don’t get me wrong, we have SO much to be thankful for these days. This isn’t the great depression, emojis are still alive and well, and somehow we survived 2012.

Essentially, I’d say that makes us Pretty Big Deals (PBDs).

But so why do we PBDs feel like something’s missing? Why do we feel so dead inside? Why do we continue to look up at the sky and scream, Is this all there is to life? (Interestingly, this tends to happen most often on Sunday evenings.)

Why do we feel like we’re walking around aimlessly, zombified, looking for answers to a question we haven’t even begun to formulate?

And why do we keep hitting the snooze button on the alarm of life, just as we get a glimpse of something beautiful that may connect us with more meaning or joy?

“Travel abroad for an inspirational adventure? Yeah, I’d love to but I have no money to spare right now.”

“Learn to play the guitar? Psssahhhh, as if I have the time for that.”

“Go to that awesome concert with you? Nah, man. I have to stay home and finish a couple work projects. Yeah, I’m a loser I know.”

Not saying everyone should go all AWOL on life and forget their responsibilities. But what I AM emphasizing is that we need to take note of those passions, hobbies, or desires and find ways to integrate them into our lives more.

This is because these are the things which nourish our soul and are the clues to our true calling.

And yet these are the very same things we continue to push to the side, and tell ourselves and everyone else that we’ll do ’em “when we have more time.”

Sorry, buckos…but I’mma have to call bullsh*t on that.

That “when we have more time” thing doesn’t really exist in today’s world. Saying it may make us feel better and less guilty at the time for not doing it…but the truth is you’re full of baloney. You’re not gonna make time…and years will past by and you still won’t have made the time. And you’ll still feel stuck and irritated.

(Sorry to go all “hardass” on ya, but just wanna keep it real.)

3. Ignoring the “Call of Our Soul”

Basically, we may hear the call of our passions and desires, but we find all sorts of excuses of why we can’t, shouldn’t, or won’t answer it because [insert whatever lame excuse you can think of].

It’s all really just a bunch of nonsense, because you’ll then wonder why you still have a major case of the “humdrums.”

And that’s sad. And, likewise, you’re still unhappy. I mean, I’m not trying to be all sadistic and make you feel worse or anything, but if you push away what brings you joy or fills your life with meaning, this denial will eventually weigh on you. It will start to feel like you’re carrying around a ton of bricks on your shoulders; thereby making you feel even more tired, anxious, and depressed.

Yeah, life can suck sometimes. We’ve all been there. No one’s alone in that experience.

The Secret

Here’s how to survive the quarter life crisis

Maybe, just maybe, you’re not filling your side of the bargain with life.

Maybe you need to stop wondering “what life can do for you,” and instead ponder “what you can do for life.”

Maybe you’ve become too complacent in life, too comfortable.

Maybe you’re always letting fear be your navigator…instead of your heart.

And maybe it’s as simple as you’re being all whiny and complain-y but not taking any sort of action to try and remedy the situation. (Ok, fine! I’ll personally fess up to being a habitual culprit of this, jeez louise!)

Regardless, let me fill you in on a magical, but simple secret:

The only way to break free of this melancholic jungle is to do something drastic. Something unheard of. Something…uncomfortable.

In other words: You need to go against what you’ve been doing up until now.

Scary? Yes. Necessary? Yes. Rewarding? Yes.

What? You thought the magical secret would be super easy and require no concerted effort from ya? As IF! (Quick shout out to that dope movie, Clueless.)

Anyways, magical secrets don’t work that way. It’s probably against a universal law, or something. And believe me, I know it will be tough. But that’s exactly why it works.

Think about it. If you’re bored and wallowing in despair…then whatever you’re doing right now in life isn’t working. So you gotta change things up. You have to go against your own personal status quo.

Doing Some Soul Digging

The truth is you don’t have to all of a sudden leap off the edge of a cliff into dark unknowingness…baby steps are fine. Those work too, ya know.

SO think about it: what would that look like for you? And what might be that first baby step for you?

Some possibilities might be:

  •  I will start a knitting club to connect with others who share a love for this hobby.
  • I will take a class in the community to learn more about __ .
  • I will schedule a solo trip to go hiking in the mountains so I can spend more time getting to know myself while being immersed in nature.
  • I will volunteer to tutor kids at a nearby school.

Anyways, it will look different for everyone. And that’s how it’s supposed to be.

But the real humdinger question is this: what are YOU going to do for LIFE? Read: what are you going to contribute to the world? Hint: it will be something that you’re good at, passionate about, or love to do (hopefully all three) and others could benefit from.

So instead of those “why” questions we discussed earlier, ask yourself these inspiring new “what” questions over and over again. And marinate in them. And journal about them. And dream of them. And, heck, make love to them if you can! (Hmmmm, not quite sure what THAT would look like. Don’t think I wanna know.)

But seriously, just make sure to hold these questions in the back of your mind to create continued ponderings and inner dialog to get you closer to where you want to be. And I can only assume that includes a life of joy, meaning, and excitement to jump out of bed in the morning.

Next Steps

At our very core, humans want to feel like our lives have some sort of purpose, some significance; and that we will make a positive impact somehow, somewhere, or on someone.

It seems like we’re hardwired for it. It’s at the center of our being and has probably been around for much of humanity.

So let this be a call to action for all y’all millennials experiencing quarter life crisis, feeling a bit lost, disenchanted, or discouraged in life: stop being a human “doing” and instead become a human “being.” Stop going through the motions of life and begin to consciously construct a lifestyle now that you’ll smile about later when you’re all grey-haired, toothless, and decrepit.

When you shift into recognizing your unique gifts and passions and decide to apply them in some way to be of service to others, I guarantee you will feel more at ease and have better direction in life.

The concept of a quarter life crisis isn’t new. Go on and take your first baby step. It can only lead to a life that’s more rewarding and purposeful…and a little less tough and confusing.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

Quarter Life Crisis
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