25 Signs You are Having a Quarter Life Crisis

Posted on December 30th, 2013

The #3 most viewed article on All Groan Up in 2013 

1.  You glare at your cat in the morning as you get ready for work and say, “God, I wish I had your life.”

2.  “Am I ever going to feel like myself again?” Is something you ask. Every day.

3.  A Bon Iver or John Mayer song comes on and you start crying. By yourself, or around friends. Or in the middle of a coffee shop as strangers slowly usher their children away.

4.  “When is life going to feel like it’s supposed to?” Is something you ask. Every day.

5.  You’re reading this article right now because you Googled: “Quarter Life Crisis?”

6.  Visualizing yourself 15 years from now doing your bosses job makes you throw up a little in your mouth.

7.  You’re having arguments with your mom again about cleaning your bathroom and being home at a reasonable hour.

8.  Your monthly routine of expenses being greater than your income is dawning on you as a serious problem.


25 Signs it's a Quarter Life Crisis Picture


9.  You’re having arguments with your newly cemented spouse and/or roommate that sound awfully like the arguments your parents used to have, that you swore you’d never have, yet are having.

10. You’ve moved six times in the last four years.

B.  You’ve had six jobs in the last four years.

C.  You’ve had six boyfriends in the last four years.

D.  You’ve had six girlfriends in the last four years.

E.  You’ve had no boyfriends/girlfriends in the last six years and you’re scared your boyfriending or girlfriending is broken.

11.  You’d pay top dollar for a moment of clarity.

12.  That young mom with the crazy hair and stains on her shirt and bags under her eyes that kind of smells like rotten milk who you rolled your eyes at throughout college. Yeah, well you roll your stroller into a coffee shop after waking up six times with your baby and see a college girl look you up and down with that same disgust. And it takes everything within you not to walk over to that snooty college princess and punch her in the face.

13.  Your part-time, temporary job at Starbucks has lasted three and ½ years.

14.  You binge on buying brand names to try and cover up that you’re broke.

15.  You find yourself repelled and compelled by church at the same time. You ask God for help one day and then you’re yelling at him the next. Your faith is a roller coaster and you’re pretty sure your seat belt is about to come undone.

16.  You see so clearly the two roads in front of you. A life of comfort and a life of risk. And you’re not sure you have the right car or directions to go down either one.

17.  You surf the internet so much at work every day that you literally hit a point where you don’t know what else to search for.

18.  You laughed, and cried, when you read 21 Secrets for your 20’s.

19.  Making a budget is completely debilitating.

Even thinking about doing your taxes. Debilitating.

Buying groceries. Debilitating.

Doing dishes. Cooking dinner. Looking for a job. Calling your mom back. Calling your best friend back. Picking up the phone at all. DEBILI-FRICKING-TATING.

So you watch four seasons in a row of _________, while Facebook stalking exes and enemies.

20.  The phrase you dread hearing the most at work is, “Congratulations, you’re getting a promotion.

21.  You feel like every time you’re a bridesmaid/groomsman, an angel loses it’s wings.

22.  You dream about going back and punching your Smug-College-Self who was so sure had all the answers.

23.  You seek out a mentor for answers one week and you avoid them like the 8th grader with bad BO, the next.

24.  You have no idea where to go for answers.


25. You’re 99.7% sure a road-trip would fix everything

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  1. …..you read lists on travel websites about the best places in the world to have a mid-life crisis and try to work out if any are an affordable place to have a quarter life crisis.

    …..when finding yourself in career/life planning workshops where you are asked to make a five year plan, you request to get away with a five month plan because that is difficult enough.

    • Ha. Joanna your travel comment gave me a good LOL with a side of chuckle. So very true.

  2. Oh yes. I can relate to almost all of these, so it’s nice to know I’m not the only one!

    • Also, you want to go on a road trip because you’re pretty sure it holds the answers to your crisis, but can’t afford it.

      • Brianna, you’re definitely not alone. In relating to these and not being able to afford a proper road trip. But sometimes that’s the best way to do it.

  3. Joanna & Brianna — I completely agree! Especially the travel websites and not being able to afford the road trip! :) Paul — thank you for another awesome, incredibly relevant post. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone!

    • Kristi — you’re awesome. Thank you for the kind words

  4. Some of these are too perfect. Are you watching me or something!? :)

    • Ha. Thanks Katy. Nope, promise these were all generalizations. The names and places have been changed to protect the innocent :)

  5. … you start alternately crying and laughing in the break room of your holiday job that’s ending next week while you read this post on a phone so old it takes most of your lunch break to pull it up. And you get excited about things like managing to pump exactly four dollars worth of gas. You can only afford four dollars of gas.

    • Stephanie — Your comment made me want to laugh and cry. I’ve definitely been in one of those same break rooms, wishing I could break something before I just break. I’m going to write a follow up post on how to live and thrive through a quarter life crisis. Hopefully it helps.

      But hey, pumping exactly $4 gas, that’s a skill.

  6. OK, is it sad that 17 of these apply to me or is it worse that i counted. This hit WAY too close to home and I guess that’s a good thing because I know I’m not the only one.
    The most true and surprising by far….number 23. I literally could never have imagined anyone other than myself doing that. I thought I was the only nutcase.
    How about a seasonal one…you listen to Christmas carols (like I’m doing now) and really and you feel nostalgic, homesick, and like your childhood might have been as good as it gets.

    Anyway, thanks for another great post Paul.

  7. Oh my…I have felt like something has been wrong with me for the past 6 months. And last night as I’m laying awake at 1:30 AM trying to figure out where God wants me to go in life all the while thinking about what time I have to be up in the morning to be at my customer service representative job. I finally just give up and say “well, God you’ll need to take it from here since I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.” Trying desperately to believe in my heart that He isn’t angry with me for all the mistakes and changing my mind every five minutes while slowly letting go of the hope of dreams happening…or in all reality, the hope of ever having a dream again. And then I stumble upon this site today (God’s doing…most definitely) and realize that I’m not so abnormal and someone actually gets it. It lightens my heart and mind to know that this is normal and I haven’t just made one big mistake of a life. Thank you so much for writing and sharing…for providing the hope and laughter that was much needed.

    • Whoa! Number 15,16, 17! Number 5 made me look around to see if anyone noticed what I was googling. I’m edging closer to my 30′s and I thought I would have everything figured out by now. I finally got into med school after 11 years of undergraduate and graduate school and studying abroad. Today, I’m trying to leave it all for __________. I really don’t know what. That post from Abigail about worrying that God is so angry or disappointed in me for all my mistakes hit so close to home. I had everything on the list except all the boyfriend things (definitely boyfriending broken). Thanks for the list. It definitely makes me not feel so alone.

  8. I feel like the person that wrote this either spies on me or has psychic abilities… or is a psychic spy.

    • Ha. Thanks Bob. Guilty as charged on both accounts.


    Boom. This is what I was hysterical about.

    • Ha. Natasha. Well said. I’m sure many others can relate to that similar ALL CAPS kind of hysteria :)

    • That, right there with all caps and everything, sums up half of my hysteria.

  10. Oh god, this is amazing. The one about the cat–other people actually think that?

    It’s a huge comfort to know so much of what I’m experiencing is shared, though. I won’t say it helps, but it makes me feel less broken.

  11. I instantly felt better after reading this. Somehow I felt like I was the only one?! Hahah hilarious and yet able to relate to almost every single point – well done, well done.

    • Thanks Ashley! You’re definitely not alone.

  12. Quarter life crisis. So this has a name!?

    How about being 24 just finishing up with university this summer and ignoring applications for great graduate schemes in favour of 7 weeks travelling in Thailand with friends…

    ….This trip being a source of incredible excitement yet a cause of constant guilt and worry that I am missing the “career train” and will waste my degree by not striking out the minuet I finish education, or that I am too old at 24/25 to be just starting out in a job, or to be care free. OR THAT 30 IS SO CLOSE….right!?

    Arghh life! haha…..PS no 19 may have just made up a large chunk of the past week.

    • Ha. Thanks Ryan. You encapsulated the internal struggle really well that I feel many of us go through. Sometimes I think the right answer is that there is no perfect “right” answer…right? :)

  13. finally, I have found my saga to save us all from the quarter life crisis… Im 20…and it has already started! true eye opener! thanks ! great read!

    • Thanks Radhika! Glad it helped.

  14. But don’t road trips fix everything? I’m certain they do. #17 hits the nail on the head for me. I’m 28 but I’m pretty sure I’m having a late quarter life crisis.

  15. Thanks Michael. I’m pretty sure it actually should be called a Quarter-Life-Crisis (plus or minus a few, or fifteen)

  16. I’m so glad I did #5 and found this website! The 20′s are a turbulent, joyful, depressing, confusing, exhilarating time that I don’t want to end but also really, really want to end. I’m 28, about to quit my cubicle job and move home for three months to write, get a crappy part-time job I never had in my early 20′s, and figure this stuff out (hopefully… maybe at least in part). It’s exciting and terrifying!

    Again, really enjoying this site, keep up the good work of getting us through the groan phase to the grown stage of life.

    • Awesome Sarah! Thank you for the kind words and big, huge, groan up hats off to you for taking a risk and pursuing something way bigger than yourself. That’s awesome and takes courage.

  17. you totally live in my brain or something, especially the one about boyfriending is broken, and faith is a rollercoaster ride. Genius!

    • Ha! Thanks Tian. You’re thinking of the #7 right now. And that you want a bowl of cereal.

  18. omg, i feel most of these apply to me. right now i’m 21 and feeling why am i not really “living” up my life? so many of people like me, mostly friends have traveled the world already, met new people, built lasting relationships, while im suck here in chicago doing nothing but work and homework :/ not to mention being single for God knows how long now. i’m in the same boat too about thinking a trip would help this but i can’t afford it :( …..sigh

  19. THIS IS SOOOO ME! the very frustrating part is i dont know where to go or what to do or what to be…i beat myself up almost everyday thinking about this until i just float blank. :(

  20. You freak out and ignore the idea of putting 4% of your paycheck into a 401 K because “you’re only going to be here for a few months,” only to look back on the last five years and realize that apparently you were wrong – you should maybe start to contribute to your 401 k – but you’re only going to be here for a few more months, so….

  21. This is absolutely 100% accurate. I seriously felt like I was the only insane person feeling like this and was embarrassed by it! I really wish I could figure things out and I wish being 22 didn’t feel like I was in high school all over again. I feel confused and angry with myself at times and I feel like i’m learning “who I am” all over again! Crazy and scary at the same time!

  22. Lol, the road trip, dreaming about how that adventure would change my life andhow it will help me finding my purpose is something I’ve done before. Then, I realized it will be expensive and returning to reality will just be the worst feeling ever. I think we should face life instead of looking for experiences to escape from reality.

  23. 10 E made me laugh out loud. And this list has a whole new level of irony since I, at 27yrs old, just moved back in with my mom. Though, I think the fact that I don’t care means that crisis isn’t an accurate description of what I’m experiencing.

  24. May I please say how amazingly blessed I am by all of you? Thank you for sharing your lives here. You have all each brought tremendous encouragement to my day. Struggling with the fact that my parents moved out to start a new life in California while I’ve returned to my high school bedroom.
    It means a lot to know other Twenties understand.

    P.S. A roadtrip is exactly the answer… unfeasible, but 100% accurate. Let’s see how much change I have in my pockets…

  25. Omg. Like 20 of these are me. Insane!! Hilarious, but so freaking sad at the same time! Lol

  26. Wish others would speak up in my community. Trying to get a retail job in one of the trickiest areas of my province (mom’s suggestion in getting job). Persuading my parents that I’m ready to move away from home (hasn’t worked for a few years) to go to school in a province with more opportunities. Dealing with my parents at all with their protective family orientated ways. Definitely in a crisis (able to cope better without family nearby).

  27. This is so hilarious…. because it is so true. I have been going crazy lately because I am still at home paying my parent’s mortgage and I just NEED to get my own place… l NEED my own privacy. I NEED to grow.

    My student loans are seriously getting out of hand.

    Nice post!

    & A road trip is always the answer.

  28. Thanks Vanna! Well said.

  29. I definitely believe a road trip will fix me right now :-( lol
    Thanks for the post

    • Thanks Leila!

  30. Am I the only one here who can’t afford a road trip and even if I did I shouldn’t take it because I have too many bills to pay and work to do instead?

  31. I heard your interview on Boundless and just finished reading your book. Thanks for some great insight. It’s definitely comforting to know that others have gone through this and survived. I’m trying to stay positive and hope every step of this CRAZYYYYYYYYY journey will pay off, and most importantly… that I will continue to learn much more about God and the beauty of depending on him when I haven’t been able to do things on my own strength. I pray you continue to inspire others in need!

  32. Oh man, 22 and 25 made me bust up laughing- quietly of course, because my roommates (read: parents) already went to bed.
    But on a more serious note, 15 is so true. This is such a strange part of life!

  33. Ok, fellow quarter-life crisisers (its a new word) where are we going? I know I need to travel, but I don’t have a buddy.

  34. Oh my gosh, this is COMPLETELY me right now!! :(

    I counted as I went along and I got about 12/25 right off the bat *sigh*

    Old classmates, friends, and acquaintances are starting to: get engaged/married, get pregnant, moving out of their parent’s house for the first time or on their way to graduating university this year. I just turned 22 about a month ago now – and, I’m still in my parent’s house. I do have a rockin’ full-time job that I honestly love and a car (that I bought with cash all by myself with saving paychecks) and a wonderful boyfriend that I adore, but, I’m like — “THIS is my life right now? This is what was supposed to happen?”. And, I totally feel like some sort of crazy trip/action would liven up my life or help me through this – I feel like I’m in a crisis AND in a rut at the same time. What do I do?! D:

    I guess my boyfriend is going through his own sort of quarter-life crisis as well because he’s under pressure – mostly people he knows are getting engaged and he wants to propose but the job market is practically frozen so he doesn’t have the resources to get me the ring or exactly be married, yet.

    *sigh* I don’t like this feeling. I want a fast-forward button to skip this…..

  35. Well Cindy I’d say, at least you have a brighter side to look at. I mean you have a job, a car AND a lover and trust me on this- job market scenarios keep changing. So all your risks would be right all along in the near future. To say the least, you know where you are and possibly where you want to be.
    But imagine being born into a family of lawyers! Sounds pretty cool huh? Add to that the fact that you’ve aced through school and college!
    What’s the first thing they’d want you to be? Any guesses?
    Yup my life seemed so crystal clear. I’m approaching 24. I have yet to travel, yet to move out of my parents house, yet to invest time in the dating pool to meet that special someone, yet to hit the gym and get in shape, yet to get my lawyer’s degree.
    I want independence, I want to make millions on my own, i want to buy my own ferrari (just exaggerating) and mostly importantly i want to prove that I am not what I am just because of my family. I mean, even if i had to opt out of law, i’d still make a decent living. Having said that, i want to prove that Law is something I CHOSE to do rather than something “that was meant to be”.
    But then if i continue with Law, I’d end up proving the contrary. And if I don’t do it and go travelling and partying instead, I’d never buy that ferrari. But if I don’t go travelling and don’t go creating an identity different than what was expected by everyone, I’d miss out the “fun of travelling and discovering life at its peak”. It’s like a circle.
    I can clearly see both the roads ahead of me, their pros and cons, maybe i have to choose one, maybe i don’t but i want best of both the worlds and i can’t clearly can’t have them. 20/25 of the above are applicable in my case. I’ll just copy paste the rest from your comment.
    Old classmates, friends, and acquaintances are starting to: get engaged/married, get pregnant, moving out of their parent’s house for the first time or on their way to graduating university this year.
    Oh did i mention i failed one semester (owing to this confusion!)

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