If you’re unaware of the phenomenon that is the quarter-life crisis, firstly, I’m jealous. And secondly, you have come to the right place. There are few topics that I consider myself to be more well-versed in than that of the QLC.
Your '20s are frequently referred to as 'the best of your life', when in reality it feels more like uncertain abyss filled with a trial of confused identity, embarrassing google searches, hopeless transitions and failed Tinder dates.
However, like many challenges in life, I prefer to tackle the quarter-life crisis head-on. And by head-on, I mean self-diagnose my condition and treat it like a debilitating illness.
How do you know if you’re a victim? Well, unlike the time I overdosed on Nurofen and made my mum take me to the hospital because I thought I had a burst appendix, the symptoms of the QLC are unique. They can interfere with your mental, physical, emotional, romantic and professional states, taking shape in a number of different forms.
Not willing to take my word for it? Well, see below an actual list of symptoms of the quarter-life crisis, that are *completely scientific* and not in any way dramatic, contrived or made up by *me*.
1. You begin each day looking at your pet thinking ‘man I’m jealous of your life.’
2. You teeter the line between “I’m only 23 life should be carefree and relaxed” and “oh my god, why don’t I know how to do anything, I’m 23 and my life is over.”
3. You’re still petrified of booking your own doctors appointments
4. You’re even more petrified at the thought of having to pay for those doctors appointments
5. But the real existential crisis comes when you are no longer asked for your ID at 18+ establishments
6. Realising supermarket shopping for one is way harder than the Brand Power lady ever warned you about
7. You actually get jealous of your friends still at uni
8. You can make $12 last two weeks, but $500 can go in two minutes
9. The thought of not having to set an alarm literally makes you glow in your core
10. Your birthday used to be your favourite day of the year. Now the date looms like an impending pap smear that you'd rather avoid for all eternity
11. Wondering how on earth there are actual mere mortals out there who find time to exercise, shower AND eat breakfast before leaving for work???
12. Realising that 99 per cent of being an ‘adult’ is finding someone older and more experienced to do the ‘adulting’ for you
13. You relate to the emotional turmoil of Bridget Jones on a spiritual level
14. You genuinely consider selling a kidney at least twice a day
15. Performing a parallel park properly becomes the high point of your day/life
16. 18 year old you: “by 25 I’m going to have my life so together – house, husband, kids, amazing job.” 25 year old you: "still can’t even afford the $2 coin you need to release a trolley"
17. Getting the invitation to your five-year school reunion and vomiting in your mouth a little
18. Referring to anyone younger than you as “idk like 12?”
19. You consider writing a letter to the minister for education as to WHY they don’t implement *relevant* life skills into the national curriculum. ie: how to change a tyre, how to do your taxes and HOW to correctly remove the lids from jars
20. You regularly avoid any situation where small talk is required, just so you don’t have to admit your failures and lack of accomplishments
21. Going out on a weekday used to be a regular occurrence – now you just dread the inevitable work hangover
22. You wonder if bullshitting your way through a cover letter could ever be considered an Olympic sport
23. You watch childhood movies and relate to the villains
24. The last few years spent diminishing the authority between you and your parents goes out the window. You rely more on your mum now than you did when you were in the womb
25. Asking yourself: HOW DOES ONE FOLD A FITTED SHEET?
26. AND, how does one stop the doona from piling up on one side in the covers (asking for a friend)?
27. Forget the planning of 18ths and 21sts, ‘wedding season’ is a thing
28. You start to care about mundane ‘adult’ things you never really thought of before – like who looks after the economic damages in every action/superhero movie ever? Seriously, the taxes in Gotham City must be so damn high to cover the cost of constant repair
29. The concept of having children becomes less of a distant, terrifying future thought, and more of a thing that is actually happening to people around you
30. You start to enjoy podcasts
31. The holidays become the toughest time of year because it’s so hard to ask for a ‘sense of purpose’ for Christmas
32. You’re constantly battling the pressure of figuring out/beginning your career vs. going overseas and hopefully forgetting the burgeoning pressures of home
33. Seeing 15-year-olds on the street and wondering if you were ever that small
34. Your text messages between you and your mum look less like a functioning relationship and more like a series of Google searches
35. You realise your age is closer to 28 than 18 and that thought keeps you up at night
36. Making a commitment to avoid any and all Adele songs because her angelic voice and pensive lyrics is enough to set you off
37. Watching the VMAs or any other ‘young’ award show and seriously wondering who the heck any of these people are
38. Crying at Masterchef and/or The Bachelor becomes a regular occurrence
39. Suddenly having the urge to ‘take a class’ and adopt a new skill
40. You’re reading an article about a quarter-life crisis and are relating a concerning amount to every. single. point. Don’t worry, we’re in this together.
Illustration by Twylamae.