We are all familiar with the term ‘mid-life crisis’ that signifies a kind of panic that supposedly seizes people some time around their forties when they worry about whether they have made correct decisions concerning the major choices so far, if their lives have any meaning, and whether they should change directions before they get old and die. It is often the source of jokes, invoked when when middle-aged people do something that is out of character, such as buying an expensive sports car.
I had seen this as a western, middle-class indulgence, with most other people too busy actually living their lives to engage in this kind of navel-gazing. But now it seems that there is also something called a “quarter life crisis” that affects people in their twenties and thirties. I cam across an article that discussed this and typed that phrase into into a search engine and got a lot of hits with sites telling me what the signs are and what to do about it.
The media loves to take the normal progressions in life, a continuous process that brings with it new challenges as one goes through life’s changing phases, and discretize them, setting boundaries and markers around periods and giving each one of them labels, and then treat those as some kind of serious problem that needs to be solved, presumably with professional help.
I wonder how far this age-splitting process will be taken. Will we have three-quarter-life crises? One-eighth-life crises? One-sixteenth-life crises to denote the major transition as children get ready to start school?