Do you sometimes look at your parents and think, ‘jeez, when you were my age you had two kids, were already married and owned your own home!’ Whilst your biggest decision that afternoon was which filter to use on Snapchat? This may be one of the first signs of a Quarter-Life Crisis.
Research shows that this affects 20-30 year olds, who are struggling with the realisation of being a ‘real’ adult. Dr Oliver Robinson from the University of Greenwich states: “Quarterlife crises don’t happen literally a quarter way through your life.”
I still think about what I want to be when I grow up.
Dr Oliver Robinson broke up the stages of Quarter-Life Crisis into four phases:
Phase one: Feeling trapped in a job/relationship etc. Where you feel stuck in something which you know you can escape from.
Phase two: The physical break from said job/relationship. The sense of change that you crave. The exploration of oneself and ones interests.
Phase three: The new you. The new life. The rebuild after phase two.
Phase four: Developing new interests and relationships, now more in tune with your values and aspirations.
How does all this link to travel? Well, as a 27-year-old, almost married, homeowner, you’d think I’d have things set. Well I don’t. I still think about what I want to be when I grow up. Working in the travel industry, you’d think I was well-traveled (been there, done that kind of thing). However, I stumbled into the job of a Travel Agent because I was lucky enough to have good holidays as a child, and I could write well about them on the application. Sitting with colleagues that have been there and done that, only makes me want to travel more.
Pete was the one that persuaded me to go. I was the one that had a life plan – career by the age X, married by X, children by X. Pete though, is very laid-back and more of a ‘Why not?’ kinda guy. Yet I always had an answer.
One day, hung over after his birthday, he asked me again, “why can’t we go travelling?” And for whatever reason on this day, I couldn’t think of an answer. Maybe I was ready to embrace Phase 2 of the Quarter-Life Crisis – The physical break from my job and day-to-day life. What is tying us down? (alright the mortgage is pretty big, but we can always let!)
I like to think I work to live, not live to work.
We are raised to learn and earn and pay back what we owe. You need this GCSE to get into college, you need this college degree to go to university/get a job. And then what? I like to think I work to live, not live to work. We are literally only here once and as everyone says, time flies. I am sick of people saying ‘this week has gone so fast,’ or ‘I can’t believe its Christmas already.’ So do something now, whilst you have the time!
So we started planning in June 2015 and we are now 4 months away from flying to Thailand. I assume we’ll hit Phase 3 of our Quarter-Life Crisis whilst we are travelling. Maybe it’ll hit when we are swimming with the turtles in the Philippines? Maybe whilst we wake up early to view the sunrise over Angkor Wat? Who knows? You’ll have to watch this space…
Here’s a decent blog post from Lifehacker named How to Overcome your Quarter-Life Crisis.
I also loved this light heard take on a Quarter-Life Crisis from Buzzfeed.
And finally, here is a summary of Dr Robinson’s research.