Why your Quarter Life Crisis is the best thing that could have happened to you

Posted on December 27th, 2013


Quarter-Life Crisis (def): Experienced in one’s twenties, involving anxiety/fear/confusion over the direction and quality of one’s life. Not sure if what you’re experiencing has the makings of one? Here’s 25 signs it might be a quarter life crisis.

But what if I told you that experiencing a quarter life crisis is the best thing that can happen to you?

Yes, this turbulent season in your 20′s where you’re emerging into adulthood, and in the process, feel like you’re getting the insides ripped out of you like crab legs at a Las Vegas buffet. Yes, this season will be the most important season of development in your entire life.

Let me explain.


Thank you, Quarter Life Crisis


Life Lived Linear

Growing up we live life so linear. Middle school. High School. College. Grad School. Cubicle job.

Climb that step so you can climb the next and the next and the next…

don’t question. don’t look back. don’t turn.

Climb you fool. Climb!


We earn degrees, corner offices, 401k’s — but is plodding up a stairwell the way we want to live?

Time to Explore

The Quarter-life Crisis is simply when you finally stop climbing the stairs and start exploring the unknowns of the 15th floor.

The door locks behind you. You strain your eyes but can only make out a dimly lit hall that appears to never end. You feel stuck in a Stephen King novel and at any second train headlights might start hurdling toward you.

No syllabus. No textbook. No professor with a flashlight to shed light on all the answers.

No, just you and an endless amount of rooms.

All you can do is start opening doors.

And it’s a tad terrifying, if we’re honest. Because exploring the dark has always been that way.

Because we’ll enter rooms that smell like mothballs and old pee.

Because we’ll get lost and there’s no assurance that we’ll ever find our way out.

Value of the Quarter-Life Crisis

But the more rooms we go in, the more the maze begins to make sense. Exploring in the dark is not easy. But our eyes begin to adjust. We start learning how to really see.

We learn how to fail.

And struggle.

And persevere.

We learn that sometimes life must suck before it’s sweet.

We learn that sometimes life will dismantle you so that you can be rebuilt. 

We learn how to explore again like we’re eight years old in the field behind our house.

Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”
― Gilda Radner

We think back to our life on the stairwell and realize it wasn’t much of a life after all.

So yes, I’d rather we experience crisis now. I’d rather we ask questions when we’re twenty-six years old and have the rest of our lives to live it. Than when we’re freaking-fifty-five with so much of our lives already cashed in.

Lost With Confidence

A Quarter-Life crisis, as Professor Robert Quinn writes in Deep Change, is really about being willing to get “lost with confidence”.

I can honestly say now, I’m thankful for my quarter-life crisis.

If we don’t learn how to explore now, then we’ll really be lost later. 

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below:

Have you experienced moments of Quarter Life Crisis? Can you see any ways it’s benefited you?

Snag a FREE portion of my book 101 Secrets for your Twenties.

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