They may still be in the prime of their lives - but for many young adults, their 20s and 30s are now a time of panic and self-doubt as they suffer a “quarter-life crisis”.
quarter-life crisis: 青年危机
Faced with too much choice, they are experiencing the traditional symptoms of a mid-life crisis earlier, research suggests.
Today's young adults often struggle with the multitude of options available, driving them to feel anxiety, depression and a sense of being trapped or ”locked into” a marriage or a job that doesn't feel right.
And the phenomenon appears to be more common than in the past, according to Greenwich University researcher Oliver Robinson. Dr Robinson, who interviewed 50 people aged between 25 and 35 about their difficulties coping, said:”You are now more footloose to make changes in early adulthood than I think you once were.”
“There is greater fluidity in the job world, greater fluidity in marriage or alternatives to marriage. This fluidity has meant major life changes are more acceptable.” In the past if a major life change were to occur it would happen in mid-life. “Pressure to meet parents” demands can add to the sense of crisis among today's young adults, he said.
“It is about people feeling a frenetic need to get a job, make money and be successful quickly,” said the researcher.
“It links to the demanding nature of people in their 20s and 30s who want it all. They are not happy with a mediocre, ploddy, conventional life.”
While a major re-evaluation of life choices can be unsettling, it seems to be worth it in the end, the British Psychological Society's annual conference heard.
Dr Robinson said “setting the clock back on adulthood and starting again” brings with it a sense of freedom. And those who have suffered – or are in the midst of – a “quarter-life crisis” will be glad to know that it cuts their odds of suffering a 'proper' mid-life crisis later on.
Dr Robinson said:”You'd be much less likely to [suffer another crisis] because the lifestyle that [you have] post crisis is intrinsically healthier than what you had before.”