Quarter Life Crisis The Challenges of Young Adulthood


As one reaches a certain age, one will start questioning oneself about various stuffs like directions, self-worthiness and emotions. It is a cross-junction in life where major decisions are to be made.

(Please bear with me as this is going to be a long post)

General observations from a boy’s point of view.

Pre Quarter Life Crisis
A young lad in Singapore in his early 20s, fresh out of college, is on equal footing with those around him. Everyone has the same education qualification. There is no stress, no competition and no rivalry. Then comes National Service, everyone starts out with the same rank. However as one progresses through army, some of your buddies may achieve higher ranks. But usually that is not a big issue as National Service is only 2 years, most lads do not really care about ranks (some do), they are more concern about surviving the conscription in one piece and enjoying life outside uniform.

So we fast-forward time 2 years later after been discharged from the Army. This is where a young adult will start to face the real world. Some will choose to further their studies in the hope that with a better paper qualification means a better career. Some will forgo further education, find a job and joins the rat race. Then there will also be some who are uncertain as to what they want and choose to bum around instead.

Peers’ Pressure
So we fast-forward time again to a few years later. Those who opt for university studies will have graduated and perhaps found a job, hopefully in a good position and with a decent salary. This is the point in time where everybody is different now. No longer are they the same classmates you have in school where everyone is of equivalent status. Everyone now has different job, different position and different career paths. Furthermore as one step into society, one will get to meet more people through work or mutual friends. The common topic of discussion during gatherings will be no doubt be about one’s work. One must say that although life is not all about dollars and cents, but still uncertainty and lack of confidence might surface after knowing someone who is around your age, be it your friend, second degree friends, third degree friends are doing financially better. Peers’ influence as one calls it, where one tends to lose self-esteem or even look down on oneself.

In addition to that, the stress of daily work, worthless office politics and insecurity about one’s future may prompt some to feel nostalgic, dwelling upon the carefree days of yesteryears, of one’s school life and teenage hood where one does not have a care in the world.

Perhaps the most important aspect of quarter life crisis. Everyone needs companionship, in this case love. Some lucky ones might get plenty of it while some none at all. As one gets older, one will find it harder to acquire it. Girls in mid to late twenties are unlike teenage girls who easily fall for romantic guys. No doubt it is an advantage if one is romantic, humorous and sensitive, which I guess are characteristics most girls will look for in a guy. But generally girls in this age group will also look for stability as well. For example they might not care that you are a stormtrooper in the world’s coolest costuming group. Bringing home the bacon matters too.

Secondly some might come with baggage, an unhappy experience from a previous failed romance. Guys always had it easy. Most guys seem to be able move on to a new relationship with ease but girls often hold deeper attachment in a relationship so it takes longer time for them to heal and forget. This may leave them cautious of future guys they meet thus making it harder for the new boy to impress and win her. It’s a challenge on the new boy’s part. But hey if new boy really likes her, it just means that he has to try harder now wouldn’t he? I always believe hard work do pay off.

Do or do not, there is no try
I suppose the header picture of Luke looking at the twin settling suns on Tatooine best describe today’s discussion. Luke is an idealistic farm boy who dreams of seeing the world but he is torn between his dreams and looking after his aging uncle/aunt and helping out with the harvest. Things took a dramatic twist when his uncle and aunt are killed and Luke has to take destiny into his own hands.

I hope this article is not too depressing. I believe everyone will experience quarter life crisis at one point of time in his or her life. Unless one is truly optimistic, this is something we all have to overcome. We make our own future so take destiny in our own hands like what Luke has done. Cheers.

(P.S. I hope Lucasfilm don’t sue me for using that Tatooine pic. Btw there’s no evidence implying that the Sandtroopers killed Luke’s uncle and aunt. See the truth here.)


About sergeant gordon

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21 Responses to Quarter Life Crisis The Challenges of Young Adulthood

  1. Marianto says:

    I am about to move into the pre quarter life crisis later this year, which is the enlistment into the military. Hope the 2 years will be a breeze.

    And talking about paper qualification, it is kinda flexible in the industry (Digital Media Industry) that I am in. Through my experiences in school and internship outside, I have come to realized that having a proper paper qualification does not necessarily reflect your ability to perform when a job is assigned to you. Have noticed some just holds the paper qualification without knowing a single thing in the particular field, it is very saddening.

    However, I have met my fair share of those who without paper qualifications that actually outperforms those with qualifications. Ironic, isn’t it?

    Lastly, I truly agree with the phrase “Do or do not, there is no try” Being a long time follower of this quote too, I have come to learn to make decisions more decisively ^^

  2. Otaku Dan says:

    This was actually a nice post that go me thinking more about my future

  3. TinyRedMan says:

    @Marianto: In the digital Media industry that you are in, qualifications aren’t so important because what most employers want are the work you produce. I have heard guys from Lucasfilm, or some other big shot Digital Media companies said before, they wouldn’t care if you’re a O Level grad, but if you have the stuff, they welcome you aboard. Then, it’s the first three months of work that they will examine and grade you. If you fare well, congrats. You got a stable job. Just keep improving and you’ll be making a name for yourself then.

    @Gordon: Well, I’m currently in National Slavery still, but the things that you mentioned here have already being thought by me. Yet, till now, I still have no idea where i’m going after NS. I plan to study overseas, but lack the mooleh. Well, working wise, i still can’t make it with my works. I know this sounds crazy, but it sounds like Danny when he was back in England. I believe you have read posts about his past, how he struggled like you right now, and somehow, by stroke of luck, became successful in life.

    Not sure if you are willing to take this advice from a novice, but just don’t follow the crowd. Avoid the crowd. And get out of your comfort zone, ya? =D

  4. andra says:

    Recently these thingy just spin around my mind too! – about going JC or Poly ^^; But I am one of those with the motto of “船到桥头,自然之直” so I always take things easy – when that time comes, I will have the right resolution.

  5. blauereiter says:

    Youth is your greatest asset. :]

    “Be happy for this moment, this moment is your life.”

  6. alafista says:

    Live for today! Think about tomorrow … tomorrow. ^^

  7. Neutrinos says:

    Ah! This is also a period of time when you see you peers settling down one by one and you wonder what’s up… ^^;
    A few years in the workforce should thoroughly stamp out any ambition or idealistic notion one has when one is schooling. No matter, one will find something to fill the void, eventually. ^^;

  8. abao says:

    This is the quarter life crisis your are talking about ar. I’m 憂鬱 every few month imo…

  9. Hangmen says:

    Since I, your neighbour across the causeway, wasn’t picked for my country’s wimpyass, crony-pleasing National Service program, I’m planning to join the reserves after I graduate. Better to get a nice can of ass-whoopin’ than a premature death due to ‘unknown’ circumstances, if you’re following the news in my country.

  10. Persocom says:

    So that’s what my run-ins with depression are called. I’m 26 years old, but I am married with a son. I get a different feeling of quarter life crisis where I feel like my life is moving too fast, I have the responsibility of raising a son but sometimes I feel that I’m not doing good enough. National service isn’t an issue over here, so that’s not really part of it. But, knowing the choices I made and the responsibilities I hold can bring me down sometimes. Then I see my son’s smile, or hear words from him and I feel stupid for letting myself get bummed out when I have him by my side. Thinking about the future is what worries me, I guess for me it’s thinking about when he finishes school and leaves the house, what will I do? Quarter life crisis in my case is preparation for the onslaught of the midlife crisis. I grew up too fast but I don’t feel grown.

  11. Blowfish says:

    Thinking about your path in life until now and discussing it with others is a good thing to do.I wont be able to give you any good advise but maybe some others will be able to.

    Instead im gonna talk about how everythings turning out here in Germany.Im turning 25 this year and I could reminisence about the past aswell.

    In Germany you and your buddies stay equal until you leave the elementary school( after 4th grade).Youll have to decide your future life as a tiny wee lad by choosing one of three final school forms (your marks count too).You must choose between Hauptschule(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hauptschule),Realschule(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Realschule) and the highest the Gymnasium(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnasium_(school))

    After the Gymnasium youll get your diploma and can go study at the university.

    I was unsure what to do with my life until the 11th grade.I had an sports accident and broke my arm.I had to undergo physical therapy afterwards and found out that this is the thing i want to do myself.

    A few years later ive become a physiotherapist and dont know what to do with my life again.There arent really any ambitions/goals i wanna achieve.
    Love? Nah im not really interested in it.Its not like i prefer 2D or something but Ive never had the drive to go out and search for my significant other.I know that alot of people are in serious need for love but i dont countmyself to them.

    I agree that the older you get the harder it gets to find love since life became more complicated with more responsibilities.

    Money? Dont get me started on that.I love my profession but its one of those low paying health department jobs.One of my buddies I went to school with is about to buy his own home while I am able to maintain some luxury goods (figures etc.) when im watching my expenses.

    errr i think ive lost the red thread somewhere… ^^;;

    Anyways its pretty normal to think about your life when your in your mid-wenties

  12. xjaymanx says:

    @Gordon: I know what u mean. But as Princess Leia says, we’ve got to follow our own paths. Hard for us to do that while looking over your shoulder to other people’s paths, lol. But still, even the pretty, the rich and the married have got their own problems, their own drama, and their own insecurities… You’ll be fine.

    Leia: “What’s wrong?”
    Luke: “Oh, it’s Han! I don’t know, I really thought he’d change his mind.”
    Leia: “He’s got to follow his own path. No one can choose it for him.”

    P.S. Haha, that “Troops” video is so classic! I remember seeing it as far back as the 1990s! Ahh yes, here it is~ 1997.

  13. Gordon. You make me wanna cry. This is more effective than Clannad!

  14. I am not joking. Really.

  15. Lene says:

    ;_; *hug*

    I’m not quite at the quarter-life crisis stage yet, but I constantly think about the future since I’ll be graduating within a year and then some and be flung into the real world soon after.

    I’m not getting any younger, so I’m living my life to the fullest each day. Even when things start to bring me down, I still have to keep going no matter what.

    I-I don’t know if I’m making sense –;;;

    In short, you’ll be okay! Yoda definitely speaks the truth.

  16. jusuchin85 says:

    Not too long a post, gordon. In all seriousness, having a post like this brings back reflections on life for the very best of us.

    I can’t be the master of giving advice, but I can only share my experience with you.

    I couldn’t say that I’m good in my studies, but one of the biggest mistakes in my life would be to wasting precious time on my studies when I could be earning my salary right now. Also, I did failed a couple of times and that served as a wake up call to me; to stand up and think that I should be doing what I should be doing.

    In regards to relationships, that is a whole big thing altogether. I enjoyed my two-and-a-half years of being in someone’s arm, but once reality struck we couldn’t continue. 7 months on, I realise that having a relationship at this age really means a life-long one. And that normally results in a stable relationship, and what better way to have a stable relationship than being stable yourself? I’m not a guy who can be a playboy so I’m all out for a serious one. In truth, the right one has not arrive yet…so time will tell on that.

    Sorry for blabbering a lot on this post, just sharing what I’m going through in my life.

    But good luck in yours… Hope you find your happiness soon! (I had mine, so enjoy yours when you do…to the fullest!)

  17. gordon says:

    thanks all. ^^;

  18. cavalock says:

    interesting post. my take from after reading it is to wonder what exactly are you going through right now? i mean, to me yr article details your observations etc. but it doesn’t really say how you are feeling right now as in it doesn’t really show your present situation, i mean u talk bout stress, peer pressure, relationships etc but not much from a personal POV, sorry if i’m sounding nosy.

    and if 25 yrs old is quarterlife, does this mean the average lifespan is 100 yrs. lol. just kidding.

  19. dice says:

    Welcome to society dude. Well, if it makes you feel any better, I’m already experiencing mid life crisis 😐 . Why live so long if you’re in pain :S

    You know how a lot of us get utterly caught up in a myriad of daily responsibilities we forget what helps take the glitches away in our lives. We’re often found married to our desk at work or we get home too tired to even start a simple conversation.

    Sometimes I feel that having a ton on your plate of work and slogging for your iron rice bowl is a good thing. It keeps you sane at the very least but at the end of the day I guess we could all learn something from all the heartaches we’ve experienced.

    So if I were to sum up life in just 3 words, it’ll most probably be “It Goes On”. So what gives… Gambare my dear friend. (Either that or go to planet Naboo :p)

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