Great question! This is something I've been wondering for quite some time.
I'm turning 28 in 5 days time (I know, I don't look it...) and I kind of feel like I've been going through some sort of quarter life crisis for the past couple of years!
I don't know if I can speak for all 20-something's, but I think my quarter life crisis was brought about by two things:
- Unrealistic expectations
- Social media
By my late teens, I was pretty certain I was destined to be some sort of rockstar or literary genius.
When it became clear that I wasn't going to be the next Hunter S Thompson or Trent Reznor, this made me have to reassess the direction I was going - and what I wanted to achieve in life.
I think being in your twenties these days is pretty difficult, because the role models you're surrounded by on a daily basis have an almost unattainable status.
Celebrities on TV, 17 year-olds that develop apps that sell for millions of dollars, teenage pro-sports players who make more money in a week than most people make all year: These are the kind of people that our generation define as 'successes'.
Being in your mid-twenties and not having made it big just seems a lot worse nowadays. It means being resigned to the fact that you're not actually as special as you think - and that mediocrity might be all that you'll ever achieve.
I also don't think it's any coincidence that Facebook and other social media networks boomed at the same time as the rise of the "quarter life crisis".
I remember looking through my newsfeed one day, and all I could see was people I'd gone to school and uni with studying post-grad at Harvard or MIT, teaching English in the Cayman Islands, DJing in Berlin and posting pictures of themselves hanging out backstage at New York Fashion Week.
Whilst it's common knowledge nowadays that Facebook profiles are just a showreel of everyone's best moments - or what they want you to see about them, I do think that seeing everyone having a great time every time you check your updates does add extra pressure, because we all judge our performances in relation to what others achieve.
How I got over my quarter life crisis
I had a kid. Although the ride was bumpy, I think having a baby with my partner made me realize that life wasn't just about what parties I was going to and how much money I was making.
I realised it was time to start appreciating life a bit more, and being grateful for the things I do have and the people around me - whilst, at the same time, still being ambitious and positive enough to want to improve.
I wouldn't say I've got it down to a tee, and my life is still far from perfect - but I think I've finally realised life is what you make of it, and that actually some of the things I've achieved so far aren't that bad!