Tag Archives: kate-carraway

Option Paralysis: The Quarterlife Crisis

Kate Carraway sums up that modern existential angst experienced by countless twentysomethings: The Quarterlife Crisis, a somewhat disabling mix of akrasia, apathy and ennui brought on by a number of realisations.

This phenomenon, known as the “Quarterlife Crisis,” is as ubiquitous as it is intangible. Unrelenting indecision, isolation, confusion and anxiety about working, relationships and direction is reported by people in their mid-twenties to early thirties who are usually urban, middle class and well-educated; those who should be able to capitalize on their youth, unparalleled freedom and free-for-all individuation. They can’t make any decisions, because they don’t know what they want, and they don’t know what they want because they don’t know who they are, and they don’t know who they are because they’re allowed to be anyone they want.

Somewhat in the midst of such a twentysomething void myself (or at least I can sense its advance), am I alone in not resigning myself to this ‘crisis’? This article seems to suggest so, and I doubt this.

As Michael Kimmel is quoted as saying:

The Quarterlife Crisis is a kind of anticipatory crisis: ‘How is my life going to turn out? I don’t have a clue; I don’t have a map; I don’t have a vision for it.’

To simply just accept this situation seems almost insulting.

Update: Ben Casnocha has also written about The Quarterlife Crisis, linking to some of his other great articles that cover similar ground.