Photo copyright Satya Byock, 2010

Photo copyright Satya Byock, 2010

Quarterlife as a Stage of Life

Quarterlife today resembles midlife a half century ago.

Individuals coming of age today are seeking lives with a combined emphasis on stability and meaning. While working to support oneself financially and to build lasting relationships, individuals in Quarterlife are increasingly placing attention on the search for meaning in a chaotic world. Often, symptoms of depression and anxiety are speaking to this confusion and a lack of guidance on where to go for answers.

“If there is a path, it is someone else’s path and you are not on the adventure.”

-Joseph Campbell

Symptoms of the Quarterlife Crisis

The popularly named “quarterlife crisis” often manifests with an existential uncertainty about one’s life plans or purpose. Fear, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and general uncertainty are common. There is often a deep feeling of being called towards something but an inability to pinpoint the exact calling, or alternately a feeling of emptiness and of being lost.

As the crisis is commonly associated with the pursuit of one’s professional goals and creative life, there is often a hope to align the fruits of one’s search for meaning with one’s career and external life. This very individual search often has a very collective component: quarterlifers seeking meaning are also regularly seeking ways to creatively, meaningfully contribute to the betterment of a world they believe could, and should, be different.

“True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding the true path for ourselves, and fearlessly following it.”

-Mahatma Gandhi