The Quarterlife Crisis
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by Jason C. Steinle
“I don’t know what’s wrong with my daughter, but she just can’t seem to get her life going,” said Mary, age 57. “She says that times are harder, but I think she’s just lazy. When I 24 I was married and raising two children with a third one on the way.”
Are today’s quarterlifers—people in their teens, twenties and early thirties—lazy or is life harder than it was a generation or two ago? Is there really such a thing as a quarterlife crisis?
It’s a debatable topic. Believe me. I’ve heard parents yell until they were red in the face, “Yes! They’re lazy. Shoot, if anything life is easier today.” At the same time I’ve had quarterlifers tell me with tears in their eyes, “It’s just different today. My parents and grandparents don’t understand.”
Regardless of where you stand the statistics paint a concerning picture. According to university studies, web site polls and government researchers:
***More than 61 percent of college students say they plan to live with their parents after college.
***People age 18 to 25 have the highest rates of alcohol dependence and illicit drug abuse.
***Between the ages of 18 and 34, young adults receive an average of $38,000 in support from their moms and dads.
***People hold an average of 8.6 jobs between the ages of 18 and 32.
***Thirty-nine percent of student borrowers leave college with unmanageable debt.
Are these the symptoms of a national quarterlife crisis? Yes. Just like the midlife crisis is a stage that typically occurs for people in their forties and fifties who are tired of the predictability of their lives, in our teens, twenties and early thirties the opposite occurs. Instead of having predictability there is no solid foundation to stand on.
As quarterlifers (of which I’m one) once we leave the protection of home and school, we are suddenly faced with many questions: “What should I do for a living?” “Where can I find Mr. or Ms. Right?” “What is my purpose?” “Who am I?” “How can I make money?” and “What is the meaning of life?” We turn these questions over and over in our heads as we venture into the real world for the first time.
It’s not only the questions that are difficult. It’s also the sheer number of them. We’re looking for the perfect career, making new friends, choosing a place to live, searching for the right partner, contemplating a family, exploring our spirituality and questioning the meaning of it all. Unfortunately while all quarterlifers go through this, few of us talk about it openly. This feeling of being alone adds to the anxiety we face during this transition time.
It’s the same frustration, confusion and uncertainty that led a classmate of mine to commit suicide. Depressed and frustrated, he chose to end his life rather than carry on. In fact, did you know that our generation has the highest rate of suicide attempts? Recent studies linking depression to suicide found that depression has doubled among 20-year-olds over the past 13 years. When asked why, the director of one study said, “Times are more stressful, students
are faced with more pressure, more decisions, and more competition. There is more demand put on young adults today.”
Over the coming weeks we are going to look closer at the “quarterlife crisis” and its “quarterlife solutions”. I’ll share with you what I’ve learned after interviewing over 400 quarterlifers from around the United States.
Parents will find the information valuable if for no other reason than the goal of saving thousands of dollars by ensuring their child pursues an education they actually finish and use. Quarterlifers will find the articles of value because like me, we are all faced with similar questions. Through my research I discovered that it didn’t matter if I was talking with someone from New York City, NY or Newcastle, WY, every quarterlifer has the same underlying questions and concerns.
Join us in the next issue where we’ll look more closely at the difference between a quarterlifer’s life today compared to twenty and even forty years ago.
All Rights Reserved Nasoj Publications, LLC
Jason C. Steinle is a chiropractor at Health and Harmony, PC in Evergreen, CO, the host of The Steinle Show talk radio and television programs, and author of Upload Experience: Quarterlife Solutions which is available at www.amazon.com, To learn more visit www.uploadexperience.com