Friday, 16 August 2013

Quarter-Life Crisis

The Spear has taken note of a particular phenomenon in recent months to which he and his peers seem especially susceptible.  Somewhere, in that stretch of time roughly encompassed by the transition from mid to late twenties, something cracks within an individual, leading to life-change en masse.  It is, friends of The Spear, what has been dubbed the ‘Quarter-Life Crisis’ (or QLC for those inclined to TLAs).



QLC’s are unique to the individual, but generally take on the form of an abrupt and apparently senseless change in any of the following:

·         Career
·         Location
·         Partner
·         Education
·         Lifestyle

For seemingly no good reason, the individual experiencing the QLC is often willing to throw away the delicious fruits of previously expended time and effort, often of several years duration. 

In The Spear’s opinion, the QLC is primarily instigated by one or more of the following characteristics:

1.       Realizing that you may not live long enough to get to experience a Mid-Life Crisis

By the time one has lost the legitimate right to say they are still in their early twenties, it is quite likely that they have also been to a funeral of someone now younger than they.  The realisation that there are no guarantees in life may spark the fear of waiting until it is too late to follow a dream, or that life is too short to spend it doing something second-rate; a re-prioritisation of values occurs.

2.       Having entered responsible adulthood while irresponsible adulthood is still an option

The Spear sees many overachievers fall victim to the QLC.  Having gotten educated and risen through the ranks quickly, they find themselves mired in all-too-serious, self-imposed work and career challenges.  Realising that they are the only ones making themselves do these things and that they are still relatively string-free, they decide to pull the pin and discover a second adolescence.

3.       Relationship Dissatisfaction

As the premium partners are taken off the market and the peak of physical attractiveness wanes, a newfound element of relationship urgency arises.  A QLC usually strikes someone who is perpetually single or someone who realises that they are with the wrong person or not yet ready to settle down.  The QLC is seen as a way to ‘shake things up’ and expedite a relationship coup.  Happy, stable relationships are anathema to the QLC.


In short, a QLC is a symptom of retrospective gazing at one’s decision tree of life, and realising that one is heading in the wrong direction, instigating drastic action to alter its path while the last reserves of youthful exuberance remain.

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