The Four Versions of the Quarter-Life Crisis

An Excerpt from the Quarter-Life Crisis Escape Plan by Kay Walker

There are four types of Quarter-Life Crisis. Some might argue there’s more, but most of them are variations on a theme. 

You might not fit 100 percent into one of these categories, but that doesn’t matter. The solution for each is the same, but with variations on the actions you need to take. The categories are simply to help you notice the common signs of a Quarter-Life Crisis so you can identify that you’re in one.

In this book, I’ll give you the five simple steps you need to take to bust out of your Quarter-Life Crisis, no matter what you’re dealing with.

It’s your job to figure out what specific actions you need to take based on the coaching that’s provided. I know how people function, but you know yourself best.

Let’s look at the four types of Quarter-Life Crisis:

1. The “OH, SHIT! I’ve wasted time and/or money” Quarter-Life Crisis

You’ve reached some level of career success or you are in a career that you studied at school for years. You spent a great deal of money getting there. Now you realize that you hate what you’ve chosen to do and can’t bear the idea that this is your career path for the rest of your life. 

Or, you could have a slightly different version of this. Perhaps you married young and did the family thing and now you’re thinking, “I’ve spent all my time focusing on my family and I have no career.” 

2. The “WTF! WHY DON’T I HAVE WHAT I WANT?” Quarter-Life Crisis

You have done a lot of work on yourself. You believe you know yourself well. You’ve taken lots of actions to build the life you want, but you aren’t quite “there.” 

Maybe you’ve dated a lot but haven’t met the one. Perhaps  you’re taking a lot of training and putting yourself out there for different jobs, but nothing is panning out.  Perhaps you’re building a business and you haven’t reached the success you want.

3. The “I COULD DO THIS, I COULD DO THAT” Quarter-Life Crisis

You’re sort of sure, but not really sure where you’re going. You have lots of ideas and talents. Maybe you studied something, but you didn’t find a great career or you have gone back to school. 

You’re paralyzed by all the possible paths you could take. You’re confused about what to spend your life doing, and you’re afraid of making the wrong choice, so, you are stuck. This might also look like what can be termed as a “failure to launch.” You live in mom and dad’s basement and haven’t been able to generate enough momentum to get your life moving in a direction that excites or inspires you. 

4. The “Have I wasted half of my life?” Quarter-Life Crisis

This is for the traveler and adventurer. You are someone who enjoys life and have spent a lot of time having great experiences and a lot of fun. Now, you’re realizing you’d like to do something more meaningful. You might have a clear idea of what that is, or you might not. 

It doesn’t matter what flavor of Quarter-Life Crisis you’re suffering. Just follow the steps in this guide. You’ll discover what you need to do to quickly free yourself and put yourself on a path to a more awesome life. 

Quickly, before I give you the five-step QLC solution, I want you to get clear on my definition of the word “crisis.” You see, I don’t like the word “crisis” in this instance because “crisis” is an ugly, upsetting word. No one likes to experience one, let alone go through a personal one. Most people certainly aren’t excited to share about a personal crisis while they’re going through it. “Hey, I’m freaking out in my head and have been feeling like a failure lately; how are you?” It’s a key reason why few people share publicly about their quarter-life “crisis.” (Who came up with the “crisis” label, anyway? I am not a fan.)

Consider that there are two ways to see your current life struggle, no matter what the challenges are. You could see it as:

  • a horrible, inescapable crisis. This likely means you see yourself as spinning out of control, and you believe you’re a huge failure and that you’re worried that you might be forever.
  • a crisis that will lead to a massive opportunity. How fast it’ll pass depends on you.

You get to choose which belief you’d like to hang onto. In life, you can’t always choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you think about it and react to it. (Remember that. You might want to write it down and stick it on your bathroom mirror.) 

You get to choose how you relate to your Quarter-Life Crisis. Your options are:

  • Option A: Your life is a disaster and there’s nothing you can do about it.
  • Option B: You’re in a breakdown, but what comes next is a breakthrough! 

If you choose Option B, you will feel better right away. Context is everything.

However, if you’re firmly planted in the swirl of Option A, and can’t see your way to Option B at this point, this book will get you there.