Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A ‘quarter-life crisis’

Move aside dad, there’s no such thing as a mid-life crisis anymore...

We’ve seen Lindsay Lohan battle it out with the demon drink off and on for years, while high-profile England footballers Ashley Cole and John Terry have both suffered relationship problems in public recently. It seems that all the riches and fame in the world can’t buy us happiness.

But according to one recent survey, carried out by mobile phone company Vodafone, it’s not just young glamorous celebrities who are ‘suffering’.

The ‘World of Difference’ survey found that a whopping 73 per cent of adults aged between 26 and 30 felt dissatisfied with life, and believe in a ‘quarter-life crisis’.

The term derives from ‘mid-life crisis’, a period known generally in western culture where many otherwise settled adults have been known to ‘lose the plot’ after questioning life’s ‘bigger picture’.

Now it appears that we don’t have to wait until we are in our 40s and married with two kids to panic about our situation.
It can happen in our 20s.

Lohan is an actress, model and sometimes pop star but at 23, she appears to have a troubled personal life. And the England boys, although pampered multi-millionaires, will be feeling a little sorry for themselves after their humiliating World Cup exit at the hands of Germany.

Joking aside though, is the ‘quarter-life’ crisis a real issue?

Donna Needs, life coach and CEO at Whitehorse Consulting says: “I don’t think there is such a thing as mid-life crisis now.

“There is a shift going on in general, where people at a much younger age are looking at their lives and saying ‘do I want to go down the usual path of university, job, marriage and family’?.

A lot of people are looking at that and saying ‘that’s not for me’. They really want to travel and experience things, and people are saying this at all ages.”

Donna has plenty of experience in coaching individuals through difficult times in their lives. And the Canadian is optimistic about our ability to change things, whether before or after a ‘crisis’.

“People are starting to question the value and satisfaction of traditional roles. It’s exciting to see people who are stuck, and who might hate themselves and their situation, and help them to help themselves. “To look at their ‘saboteur’ or little gremlin that says ‘you can’t do that, you’re not good enough’.

Dealing with the saboteur and looking at potential and opportunities, is what we need to focus on. “And so even though we are in a recession and there is a lot of suffering, there is a lot of opportunity out there and we are now seeing a lot of entrepreneurs coming through here at all ages.”

Emma Peters has been in Dubai for four years, and she believes she’s suffering her own kind of crisis.

She says: “I certainly feel far more stressed and dissatisfied with my life than I did five years ago.

I think it’s because I’m at the age where all my friends are getting married and having children whereas I’m still just getting fat and getting drunk.

“When you leave university the world is your oyster and you don’t put pressure on yourself to make the right decision because you know you’re only young and have time to make mistakes or bad choices.

“At this age you feel like you should have done everything you wanted to because it’s time to settle down.

My friend’s child recently started highschool and that freaked me out I don’t feel mature enough to get married and have children yet some of my friends have been divorced and some have five kids!”

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