Technology, Social Networks, and the Quarter-Life Crisis

Thanks to our technology-dependent lifestyles, it is becoming quite common for young adults to experience a quarter-life crisis. A quarter-life crisis is a period of time in which the individual is feeling lost, scared, lonely, or confused about what steps they need to take in order to make the proper transition into adulthood. People who go through this period often feel paralyzed by indecision. There are so many options out there for them, but they’re still struggling to figure out their personal identity. Their uncertainty holds them back from creating their own success. This inability to make choices, ironically produced from the availability of too many choices, causes severe stress and anxiety which can potentially lead to bouts of depression.

Millennials are already considered the most stressed-out generation. But why is this? The answer is simple. It’s everywhere. In fact, you’re using it right now to read this piece: technology. Thanks to technology, we have social networking sites where people are able to curate and edit their lives to portray a false reality, providing content for a constant stream of “success stories”. This false reality is misconstrued as ‘real’ to digital consumers who subconsciously compare themselves to what they see. Due to the overabundant portrayals of ‘perfect lives’ on social networking sites, those who are unable to live those lives (whether physically or fiscally) feel like failures, or as though they have not worked hard enough to make their dreams come true.

Those who go through quarter-life crises blame themselves for not reaching their goals. But a quarter-life crisis does not have to be an awful experience to go through. It can be a time of reflection, a time to determine whether past decisions were right, and a time to adjust your goals and the steps necessary to reach them. At the same time, you can rediscover who you are and what makes you strong.

It is said that the common age to have your quarter-life crisis is twenty-five, but people can have them as early as their late teens up until their thirties. The age twenty-five is simply the time society tells you, “You should be engaged by now” and “You should be working at your dream job.” Society has constructed these checklists for us to follow, and our overuse of social media spurs societal pressures. We need to remember that we have our whole lives ahead of us to be successful, and we’re all different so we should not compare one’s life path to the next. We’ve each had different upbringings, with unique values and cultures, so how can our present and our future even be comparable?

But if you’re looking for a chuckle, or feeling as though you are going through your quarter-life crisis, follow the Instagram account “Quarter Life Poetry”. Samantha Jayne is the 25-year-old artist and poet behind the illustrations that accurately depict the feelings of loneliness, indecision, fear and anxiety common to those going through their midlife crisis.

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