Interview with a psychologist

A Quarterly-Life Crisis in Women and Men: What Is It and How to Overcome It?

After 20 years in a person’s life, there are many important events. This is the beginning of independent life, the first steps in a job and starting a family of your own. The boys and girls face an “adult world” in which there are ups and downs, in which you have to make your own decisions and take responsibility for them.

It is at this time that the so-called quarterly crisis or the 25-30 year crisis occurs. What he is and how to deal with it — we will talk about this further.


What is a Quarterly Crisis?

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The Nature of the Crisis

In 2017, the social network LinkedIn conducted a study among young adults aged 25 to 30.

It turned out that 75% of respondents feel insecure in various areas of life.

61% of young people are concerned about finding a job, 51% of women and 48% of men are concerned when comparing themselves to more successful friends, and 28% of respondents have no idea what they want to do in life.

These signs suggest that young people are having an aging crisis—a quarterly crisis. It is studied least by Russian psychologists, as well as foreign ones.

Nevertheless, experts agree that during this period the worldview of man is changing, the system of his values is being rebuilt, and relationships with other people and the world are also being revised.

An adult young man or girl begins to doubt the correctness of the choice of his path. Parental custody is reduced, and the young man has to solve his problems himself.

The quarterly life crisis is also known as the ambition crisis.

According to psychoanalysts, there is a cult of productivity in the modern world. Society demands rapid self-realization and professional success from young people aged 20-25.

But many graduates of universities and colleges are not ready to immediately show their business qualities, and some simply do not see themselves in the profession they received. Fears arise, and fears often lead to panic and depression. This is how the crisis of a quarter of life manifests itself.

Temporary Features


As with other crises, there is no clear time frame for a quarterly crisis. In someone, it begins at 21 years, and someone begins to feel its manifestations only after 30 years.

The duration of the crisis period is also individual. As a rule, the age crisis lasts two to four years.

What is Important at this Time?

Every crisis in human development is an important step toward change, including the twenty-year crisis.

This is a time of re-evaluating all lines of life, examining the vitality of those attitudes parents gave as a child, and of course, seeking oneself, one’s own path.

Don’t be afraid of this time. It is necessary to learn to listen to your crisis, to study it, because thanks to it we can find contact with ourselves.

If during this period a young man or girl is able to consciously solve problems, learn to build personal and professional relationships, and cope with their internal contradictions, then the crisis period will be successfully completed.

Causes of the Crisis

In men

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Stronger sex tends to equate material well-being with success in life. Therefore, if by the age of 25-30 he could not build a career or get a decent amount of money, a man feels like a loser.

Other factors that will increase the manifestations of the crisis will be:

  • infantilism, the “position of the child”, the inability to make important decisions and take responsibility;
  • insecurity in one’s own powers, fear, distrust.

In women


Fair sex is often influenced by public stereotypes, popular women’s publications, and social media.

Looking at beautiful photos of acquaintances and strangers on Instagram, girls begin to depreciate their own lives.

Very often, girls’ dreams of a bright future cannot withstand harsh reality.

Those who have dreamed of marriage realize that family is a big responsibility, and those who prefer a career are not willing to devote their personal time to it.

The manifestations of the crisis also reinforce personal qualities such as:

  • over-reliance on the opinions of others;
  • the desire “to appear, not to be”;
  • Self-doubt, unity.

Phases of the Crisis 25-30 Years

Tero Vesalainen/

Like any crisis, a quarterly crisis has its own phases or phases of passage.

1. Phase of hopelessness

A person feels like a loser, stuck at a dead end, he stops enjoying the activity he is doing.

2. Needs awareness phase

At this stage, there is a gradual understanding by the person of their desires and correlation with their abilities. A young man or girl is trying to use their abilities to search for taste.

3. Phase of reassessment of life plans

A person tries to break free from the stereotypes imposed by society and looks for important points of reference for himself.

4. Active/depressed phase

The final stage directly depends on the person’s personal skills and ability to overcome difficulties. He either changes his reality and goes his own way, or he gets depressed when he encounters the slightest obstacle.

How Does the Quarter-Life Crisis Manifest Itself?

Girts Ragelis/

Symptoms of a 25-year crisis are:

  • dissatisfaction with himself and with his life;
  • decreased activity;
  • weakening of interest in many previously attractive things;
  • tiredness of life;
  • worry about the future;
  • the mood is low.

Young people can also ask:

  • a feeling of loneliness, of being lost;
  • the feeling of one’s own bankruptcy;
  • Uncertainty in one’s own powers, fear of making a mistake;
  • downgrading of your own merits and achievements;
  • fear of long-term plans;
  • pessimistic mood for the future;
  • constant comparison of oneself with other people;
  • guilt for inaction;
  • apathy, which is replaced by anger and irritation.

Here’s how young men and girls are speaking about the crisis in various online communities:

It wasn’t easy for me to get used to the idea that my parents’ advice doesn’t always suit me.

I feel my youth passing and I have achieved nothing.

I feel like a student at work — I have to learn a lot from scratch.

When I imagine my future after graduation, all I see is a void. It’s a very painful and uncomfortable feeling.

I live in constant fear. I don’t know what I want to do in this life.

I find it difficult to communicate with more successful peers than I. I feel like a loser.

Which Events Influence the Course of the Crisis?


A person who is in a state of crisis always reacts sharply to any events in his life.

What can increase the negative manifestations of the crisis:

  • psychological pressure from relatives;
  • lack of support;
  • problems in studies / at work;
  • housing shortage.

But there are also events that can have a positive impact on the passage of the crisis. It:

  • occupational and professional successes;
  • friendly help and support;
  • starting a serious relationship with a guy/girl;
  • parental support and acceptance.

The crisis of 30 years is also harder for people to bear:

  • with pronounced introversion;
  • anxious, undecided;
  • closed, not social;
  • with low self-esteem.

When is it Worth Seeking Help from a Specialist?

Vadym Pastukh/

It’s worth noting if you or your loved one going through a quarterly crisis have the following symptoms persist over time:

  • feelings of sadness, longing, or regret about something;
  • the reluctance to communicate with other people, even the closest ones;
  • constant fatigue, apathy, loss of energy;
  • sleep and appetite disorders;
  • dramatic weight loss or weight gain;
  • tearfulness replaced by irritability;
  • fear, fear;
  • gloomy or suicidal thoughts.

All this indicates the presence of depression. You can learn more about what it is and how to deal with it here.

Don’t hesitate to visit a specialist! Depression is a mental disorder that requires appropriate medication.

6 Most Important Mistakes During the Crisis of 25-30 Years

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During this difficult time, many young people make the same mistakes. Avoiding them means going through the crisis phase more successfully and quickly and returning to normal.

Mistake #1. Fear of the unknown

Yes, everyone is afraid to start new projects, get a new job and start a new relationship. But that’s no reason to consciously slow down your life and stay in one place for a long time.

Mistake #2. Refusal to communicate with people

Fearful of judgment or misunderstanding from even those closest to them, many young people shut themselves up and are left alone with their problems.

This is no way out. The more we entrust people with our experiences, talk about them, the lighter and calmer we become.

You can also use social networks and find people with similar problems.

Mistake #3. Fear of making a mistake

Only he who does nothing makes no mistake. This truth is simple and understandable.

It is not necessary to regard every mistake as the collapse of life and the end of the world. Maybe other people didn’t notice, and you don’t sleep because of the second night’s experiences.

Mistake #4. Wanting to be good for everyone

Agree: It’s impossible to be good for everyone. They are not gingerbread and sweet candy. And not everyone likes them by far.

So just be yourself and don’t set your goal to please anyone and everyone.

Mistake #5. Fear of starting a new relationship

It’s really scary to trust people again after betrayal and breakup.

Give yourself time, don’t chase the relationship “to the tick”. A new love will come to you if you are prepared for it.

Mistake #6. Wanting to compare yourself to other people

This defect is characteristic of as many women as men.

We don’t have to be a copy of anyone, we are unique. Our feelings, thoughts are unique, our lives are unique. It’s important not to forget.

How to Overcome a Quarterly Crisis?


Psychologist Tips for Men

  1. Live your own spirit without worrying about parents, friends, and colleagues.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to the above.
  3. Admit that not all parenting settings were correct.
  4. Forget the word “must” without turning into an obvious egotist.
  5. Talk to your loved ones and friends without closing yourself in.
  6. Realizing what kind of business is really your taste and what you want to do.
  7. Limit communication with unpleasant and “toxic” people.
  8. Move towards your goal in small steps, recognizing the importance of even small victories.

Tips for Women

  1. Forget age-related stereotypes.
  2. Recognize your uniqueness.
  3. Find your own path, not the one imposed by parents, relatives, etc.
  4. Change the level of activity when you stop enjoying it.
  5. Remind yourself of your favorite but forgotten hobbies.
  6. Look forward to small, pleasant events.
  7. Don’t be afraid to open up to the world, to explain yourself.
  8. Minimize communication with those who are annoying.
  9. Stop striving for the “ideality” of life.
  10. Learn to plan your actions.
  11. Share your experiences with loved ones, don’t shut yourself off from them.

General Recommendations


  1. Realize that the crisis is a temporary phenomenon, a natural phase of life that cannot be avoided. Life is a cycle of ups and downs, and that’s normal.
  2. Take care of yourself: eat right, play sports, allow yourself small pleasures, give up bad habits.
  3. Don’t drive yourself into the frame and don’t blame yourself for not having time to marry/get married, have children, take out a mortgage, etc.
  4. Analyze your relationship with your partner, parents, understand what prevents harmonious existence with each other.
  5. Don’t be afraid to start over: leaving someone you don’t love, changing your job, moving to another city or country.
  6. Don’t focus on negative moments, instead focus on what brings joy and makes you happier.
  7. Surround yourself with people who will listen to your fears and anxieties and give you the support you need.
  8. Do not depend on the opinions of others, believe in yourself and your own powers.

What’s Next? 5 Key Conclusions to Draw


When the crisis of a quarter of life comes to an end, youthful dreams are scattered, and societal stereotypes are revised, a person needs to draw some important conclusions for himself.

1. There is no special purpose, destiny, happy occasion, etc.

Everything (or almost everything) that happens in your life depends only on your choices and circumstances. So there is no point in envying other people’s success. They may well achieve good results in the activity to which the soul belongs.

2. Talent is the result of hard work

And not a gift from God as many think. So stop being afraid to start something and try. Everything is in your hands!

3. Parents are not always right

Mom and Dad really want the best for their children, but this life is yours, not Mom or Dad, and it’s up to you to decide who has to work, how many years to raise a family (or maybe not to make it at all) and what you should get carried away with.

4. It is important to be prepared for change

Even if you have calculated everything in your head and made a detailed plan 30 years in advance, life will give you gifts (and they will not always be pleasant) that will not only destroy all your mental constructs, but you can also throwback for a long time.

Always be ready to adapt and change to new conditions.

5. Information diet is sometimes really necessary

Colorful pictures and photos of happy people in Vkontakte create the illusion of a beautiful life that everyone has, but for some reason not yours.

So use social media just for chatting and focus on things that interest you and benefit you. And let someone else see the beautiful pictures.

How to Understand that the Crisis is Over?


When a difficult parting time passes with illusions, parental attitudes and dreams of one’s own, it will begin:

  1. Create a new you of who you really are.
  2. Recognize and accept your real skills and abilities.
  3. Change your field of activity or look for positive moments in what you are doing right now.
  4. The joy of feeling the taste of your own unique life without comparing yourself to other people.

What to Watch and Read on the Topic of Crisis 25-30 Years?

If you are interested in this topic, we recommend watching the following films:

  1. “The Graduate”, 1967.
  2. “St. Elmo’s Fire”, 1985.
  3. “Ghost World”, 2001.
  4. “Garden State”, 2004.
  5. “Accepted”, 2006.
  6. “How to Be”, 2008.

And you can also read books where the authors give tips on how to deal with a life crisis and find harmony and calm:

  1. Paul Engoni. “How do I live my twenty years so that I don’t regret anything by the time I’m thirty?”
  2. Bridget Adam. “The crisis of the first quarter of life. Young, successful, lost their landmarks.”
  3. Ellina Daley. “Until I’m 30. What is important to understand and do now.”
  4. Bernard Livehud. “Life crises are the chances of life. Human development between childhood and old age.”

Finally, for those of you who are going through a quarter of a year crisis or are on your doorstep, life is beautiful even though you are an adult and are now responsible for your own future.

The main thing is to find your own way, independent of public opinion, parental attitudes and Internet stereotypes about a beautiful and happy life!

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