Journeying Through a Quarter-Life Crisis

Journeying Through a Quarter-Life Crisis - The Palmetto PeachesWarning if you came here looking for answers, I’m sorry. I have no solutions. I’m 11 days away from turning 27 and I’m no expert on navigating quarter-life crises — or life for that matter. What I can do is share my experience.

Earlier this year, on a cool Thursday morning at work, I closed my office door as I was in the midst of a panic attack. Something in the email I just read made me flash forward and I saw myself sitting at the same desk in five years, doing the same thing. I couldn’t catch my breath, my mind was racing and I started to cry. I felt stuck. I let myself get all of that emotion out and then I started breathing deep relaxing breaths like they teach you in yoga, settled my mind, fixed my makeup – thank god my mascara was waterproof – and responded to the email. However, I wondered if this was the onset of my quarter-life crisis?

Quarter-Life Crisis — It’s a Real Thing

A Google search for quarter-life crisis delivers 7,720,000 results. That’s right over 7 million results. A Harvard Business Review article outlined the four typical stages:

  • Stage 1 – The first stage is a feeling of being trapped or locked into a commitment. This commitment could be a job, a relationship, or social group.
  • Stage 2 –  The second stage occurs as people begin to separate themselves mentally and/or physically from the commitment that is making them feel trapped.
  • Stage 3 – In this stage people really try to explore new options. This can involve quitting the job or relationship or whatever else is making them feel trapped.
  • Stage 4 – This is the rebuilding stage. This is the time when you have more clarity in life and are more motivated to pursue the things you want.

As I clicked through dozens of articles, I became less concerned. Personally, this seemed less like a crisis and more of a battle against complacency. Now I’m not saying this isn’t a real thing. I completely understand people going through this cycle of stages. Hello, my panic attack at work clearly fits the parameters of stage 1. However, I’ve always been one to set goals. I’ve come to realize that sometimes my deadlines for them are sometimes a little unrealistic. While I may not have achieved everything I want right now, I have achieved a lot.  My breakdown was really a moment of awareness that I can do better and there is nothing wrong with that.

I’m going to stop calling this a crisis and just label it a transition.

Slowly, but surely, I’ll start feeling less like I’m pretending to be an adult and more like I actually am. I hope the same happens for anyone else journeying through a quarter-life transition.


Do you think the quarter-life crisis is a real thing? Are you going through it  now or have you been though it? Leave your thoughts and any advice below!

Donni Siggy--The Palmetto Peaches


3 Replies to “Journeying Through a Quarter-Life Crisis”

  1. Loved this read. As I read through the stages, I realized I was in denial about my own “crisis” or “transition” & was currently in the latter stages as I sit here contemplating business ideas & ventures. I wish I could offer advice as well, but all I can do for myself is try to meditate, calm my mind, and stay motivated to go further.

    Best wishes to you!

    1. Thank you! I think it’s just helpful to remember that we all go through it and can come out of it. 🙂 I wish you much success and happiness with your new business ideas and ventures.


  2. Experiencing crisis in your twenties is like having gas after a steak and cheese burrito. Just because we don t want to admit it, doesn t mean we don t all go through some bad spells. Even our own parents most likely went through intense questioning and crisis in their twenties. They didn’t just teleport to success and stability. If we ask them what their twenties were like we might find out that as our parents got their stuff together, they went through their own stuff that sounds a lot like yours.

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