The Quarter Life Crisis

May 18, 2010 at 6:34 pm (Quarter Life Crisis, Sweet Nothings/Ramblings) ()

Glass of Pinot Noir in hand, I have decided to tackle a rather large post on a subject that I have thought a lot about.

I have a friend who is currently going through her ‘quarter life crisis’ and decided to deal with it in an interesting way. She got her nipple pierced.

Out of interest, I asked (on Twitter) whether anyone else had experienced (or is experiencing) their QLC and how they’ve dealt with it. I got numerous responses, but the most common answer was moving or taking an extended holiday overseas.

I think my QLC is one that cannot be solved with a short term move or a painful piercing hidden underneath my bra. The questions that plague me are about direction and contribution. Am I in the wrong job? Where do I want to be in 5 years? Should i make more time for giving back to the community? Should I do further study? Am I missing the point of being young?

Miss K and Miss R emphasised that you don’t need to have all the answers in your twenties (or even your thirties), to be kind to yourself and just enjoy the ride. Oh if only my brain would switch off and let me!

So I divided my world into sections to establish where I was lacking satisfaction in my life. I rated my current satisfaction out of 10 and this is what I found:

Home/Physical Environment:   8
Partner, Relationship:   10
Health/Fitness:   8
Personal Growth/Learning:   5
Career/Work:   4
Money/Finances:   3
Social Life:   6
Recreation:   3
Fun:   7
Spirituality:   5

This has allowed me to see clearly which areas of my life need more work and how out of balance my satisfaction levels are in different areas.

Where to from here? Okay, well I have made note that I need to change my career, focus on my finances and make time for more recreational activities. I think it’s also important to acknowledge what areas you are satisfied with and be proud of where you stand. Realising that I have a wonderful boyfriend and am taking care of myself health-wise has quietened the persistent QLC voice in my head a little.

As for dealing with the three target areas, this will take some time. Our big holiday is planned for August and 5 weeks overseas doesn’t lend itself to a career move unfortunately. Saving for the trip also impacts on the amount I can spend on recreation and long term plans for my finances.

But for the next couple of months I will be analysing my spending habits, researching fabulous fun activities/hobbies to try to figure out where my strengths and passions lie in terms of career direction in order to implement some serious change when I return from Europe.

I’d be really interested to hear if you’ve experienced a Quarter Life Crisis or are currently trying to balance satisfaction in all areas of your life.



  1. Marthe said,

    I have experienced it, oh yeah.

    I have realized that I’m not happy living in my country, and that I might be doing the wrong thing when it comes to direction of study and career. I’m currently half-way through my law studies, and suddenly I get this urge to become a photographer. Help!

    I still haven’t figured this out (I have been accepted to several photography schools, but I’m not brave enough to accept, I think) but your chart is definitely going to be helpful!

    I’ll sit down later tonight and rate my current life in order to get a little overview.

    Where in Europe are you going this summer? I’m going to spend 6 weeks in London! :)

    • Kimberley said,

      Hi Marthe,
      Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
      That’s wonderful that you have been accepted to photography schools, you must really have a talent in that area. Do you love Law? I think you can always succeed at something with a combination of passion, talent and luck.
      I hope you find out what you truly want and that maybe the rating exercise will help you figure some of it out.
      We are going to London (briefly), France, Italy, Spaina dn Prague. When are you heading off to London? Sounds exciting!

  2. Kelly Austin said,

    Darling Miss,

    I found this AMAZING email that one of my GF’s sent me a few years ago.
    Was searching for it in my saved emails as I knew it was what you were needing….

    ” Being Twenty-Something”

    They call it the “Quarter-life Crisis.” It is when you stop going along
    with the crowd and start realising that there are many things about
    yourself that you didn’t know and may not like. You start feeling
    insecure and wonder where you will be in a year or two, but then get
    scared because you barely know where you are now.

    You start realising that people are selfish and that, maybe, those
    friends that you thought you were so close to aren’t exactly the
    greatest people you have ever met, and the people you have lost touch
    with are some of the most important ones. What you don’t recognise is
    that they are realising that too, and aren’t really cold, catty, mean or
    insincere, but that they are as confused as you.

    You look at your job…and it is not even close to what you thought you
    would be doing, or maybe you are looking for a job and realising that
    you are going to have to start at the bottom and that scares you.

    Your opinions have gotten stronger. You see what others are doing and
    find yourself judging more than usual because suddenly you realise that
    you have certain boundaries in your life and are constantly adding
    things to your list of what is acceptable and what isn’t.

    One minute, you are insecure and then the next, secure. You laugh and
    cry with the greatest force of your life. You feel alone and scared and
    confused. Suddenly, change is the enemy and you try and cling on to the
    past with dear life, but soon realise that the past is drifting further
    and further away, and there is nothing to do but stay where you are or
    move forward.

    You get your heart broken and wonder how someone you loved could do such
    damage to you. Or you lay in bed and wonder why you can’t meet anyone
    decent enough that you want to get to know better.

    Or maybe you love someone but love someone else too and cannot figure
    out why you are doing this because you know that you aren’t a bad

    One nightstands and random hook ups start to look cheap. Getting wasted
    and acting like an idiot starts to look pathetic. You go through the
    same emotions and questions over and over, and talk with your friends
    about the same topics because you cannot seem to make a decision.

    You worry about loans, money, the future and making a life for
    yourself…and while winning the race would be great, right now you’d
    just like to be a contender!

    What you may not realise is that everyone reading this relates to it. We
    are in our best of times and our worst of times, trying as hard as we
    can to figure this whole thing out.

    Send this to your twenty-something friends…maybe it will help someone
    feel like they aren’t alone in their state of confusion…

    • Lyney said,

      Hey Kelly – fantastic post. I’m going to copy and paste this to a bunch of friends. I think you’re right. Everyone can relate.

    • Kimberley said,

      Thanks so much for posting that great email – did your friend write that herself or forward it on from somewhere? It is all so very true and becomes clearer every year that goes by! :)
      Lovely to hear from you Kelly. xx

  3. Kelly Austin said,

    Good for your Lyney – I think it’s what a lot of people need to know.
    That no matter what we all go through the same thing! In different ways but everyone can relate!
    Well done Miss Kimberlina….. you are making a difference!

    • Rachel Lee said,

      You have it 100% right. I graduate on Sunday and I am in that boat like a 17th Century whaler.

      • Kimberley said,

        Congratulations Rachel and I hope your graduation was fabulous. What are your plans once you graduate (sorry, a terrible question to spur on the QLC)?! xx

  4. Alba said,

    Ugh I’m so there (and I’m only 18!) – I’ve been questioning everything a la Descartes .. only .. well you know. I like this whole rating system, I think it’s a really organized way you sort through my life and make note on where improvement is necessary, like you did! Thanks for the idea! And good luck with everything!


    • Kimberley said,

      You’re hitting the QLC early Alba! :)
      I hope the rating system helps clear a few things up about where you are unsatisfied with your life.
      It seems simple (and it is) but sometimes you just need to clear your head and understand what your life looks like. xx

  5. thatgirlwithablog said,

    Man oh man, the QLC. It’s been creeping up on me for the past few years and now that I’m within months of that wretched birthday I feel like it’s continually punching me in the face.

    Did you ever see Waking Life? (If not, it really awesome, see it!) There’s one part in there where it’s two women in their 30s just talking about life and the one says something to the other along the lines of how in her 20s, she never felt like there was enough time to get anything done and that time was so finite, but now that she’s in her 30s, she feels like she has all the time in the world.

    I want to be there already! Haha. Oh, my impatient 20s! So yes, I hope you see by all of these comments that you are not alone!

    • Kimberley said,

      It sneaks up on you doesn’t it?
      I’ve never seen Waking Life, but it seems like it might be something to watch. I agree, I want to be in a space where I feel like we have all the time in the world, instead of our twenties where we are rushing around like mad people trying to achieve absolutely everything by the time we hit 30.
      Thanks for leaving your comment – was great to hear another opinion! :)

  6. 5 books I’m reading right now said,

    […] in life, where I want to go and how I want to live. You might even go so far as to call it the Quarter Life Crisis that Dream. Delight. Inspire. is talking about. Anyways, at the moment I find myself reading 5 […]

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