When I was 24 I went through a rough time. Looking back on it, it was easy to see why. For many years, I “knew” what I would be at 24; or, rather I knew WHO I would be. I would be this wonderful lady who attended our church. She had the perfect appearance, husband, home and children. She seemed to be able to do it all.
I, on the other hand, was headed down a totally different path, professionally and personally. In fact, if you compared our two lives, they would look a little like two trains headed in exactly opposite directions. At 24, that bothered me a lot. And, I spent quite a bit of time and energy being concerned about it. Nothing in my life looked like that of my role model. It was frustrating and depressing. I will never forget a friend saying to me, “You are the only 24 year old I know who is going through mid-life crisis.” Looking back at it, he was right. It’s odd, but I did not have the same kind of soul searching when I hit 30 or 40 or 50. (We’ll see what 60 brings!!)
I was visiting a friend this week who is in her mid-20’s; we became friends when she was in college and I have learned so much from her! I shared a little about my story and she asked if I had read anything about “quarter-life” crisis. This was a new term to me and so she provided more information, including current research. It surprised me that I knew about “mid-life” crisis but had not read of the “quarter-life” crisis.
Do you have employees who are in the early 20’s or 30’s? It might be a good idea for you to understand a little about this phenomenon.
College, for many of us, was a time of survival. We lived through (sometimes just barely): crazy schedules; balancing the social and academic demands; having friends, boy or girl friends or no friends; living on very little money and sleep; dealing with not enough time and too much time; and, lots of other strange challenges. But, we did it; we got through it.
And, then we got jobs and “real life” started. Here’s where some experience a quarter-life crisis. They panic when they realize that their life, career, relationships and other things aren’t what they expected or wanted and they are struck that they may be spending the REST OF THEIR LIFE doing or being what they did not expect.
For me, I worked my way through my crisis at age 24. God stayed close and he led me to finish a graduate degree; soon thereafter my career path, my physical location and my life changed dramatically. (And, I got new things to worry about!)
Don’t be surprised if you notice young adults around you dealing with this issue. But, don’t ever, ever stop investing in them. Encourage them. Mentor them. Listen to them. But, don’t try to be them (that’s just weird). And, most importantly, pray for them.
“You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9)
If you want to read more on the quarter-life crisis, you might want to start with these articles:
“Quarter Life Crisis” http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Quarter-life_crisis
“My 20’s Weren’t Supposed to be Like This – Getting Through the Quarter-Life Crisis” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jn-salters/quarterlife-crisis-is-tha_b_5072177.html