The Mini ‘Disaster’ Every Girl Needs
Lost your job, your man or your marbles? Well, don’t panic—a quarterlife crisis can help you set your life back on track, says Natalie Blenford.
I was 28, fancy-free and about to graduate from drama school when my quarter-life crisis hit. And, as so often happens, it only took one small thing to tip me over the edge. Going to the ATM one day, it refused to pay out the money I needed for my daily coffee. ‘You don’t have sufficient funds,’ it told me. I tried again—no dice. I panicked. And it dawned on me: this was a symbol. Everything in my life was wrong.
I was single, shared a flat with 4 others, and I was in debt. The career change from journalist to actress that I had embarked on a year earlier had yet to take off, and now even my usual Cappuccino was off-limits. Cue major tears. “My hair is split and greasy,” I wrote in my dairy. “My confidence is diminishing and my social life...well, where is it? As much as I’d like to think there’s a way out, I can’t see it.”
If these feelings of doom sound familiar, you’re not alone. A new research by Greenwich University has found that almost 75% of women aged 26-30 are now experiencing a ‘quarter-life crisis’.
“Every life stage is fraught with anxiety,” says Damian Barr, author of Get It Together: Surviving Your Quarterlife Crisis. “A mid-life crisis focuses on the past—‘Have I wasted my life?’—while a quarter-life crisis is about anxiety for the future.”
But the good news is that the experts actually believe that a minimeltdown could benefit you in a long run. “A quarter-life crisis won’t affect
everyone,” says Dr Oliver Robinson, senior lecturer in psychology at Greenwich University. “But if you do have one, it’s a chance to get your life back on track. A quarter-life crisis (or QLC) stops you from just going through the motions, forces you to make choices about what you want and can increase your assertiveness.”
Many women can’t kick-start their careers due to economic crisis, and a QLC can be one of the consequences. But in some cases, the cause isn’t so easily identifiable. “I always thought that by this age I’d be sorted in life,” says Gayatri Bohra, 25, a store assistant. “But that’s not the case. Although nothing is majorly wrong with my life, I just don’t feel satisfied. I recently split up with my boyfriend and I haven’t bounced back as I’d have done at 18. All my housemates feel the same—they’re all in their mid-to-late 20s, and starting to quietly freak out. Alone with my thoughts at night, I panic.”
This kind of QLC can be harder to face up to. But it’s more common than you may think. “At all stages of our lives, we have to ask questions,” says Damian. “But you need to let go of what you once expected to achieve. At 25 you shouldn’t spend all your time looking forward and backwards—live in the moment. Ask yourself, ‘Am I in the right job? Am I happy where I’m living? Is this relationship healthy?’ Worrying is a part of your life narrative—just don’t let it consume your life.”
For me, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Three years on from my meltdown moment, I’m credit-cardfree, living with friends, and juggling fulfilling careers writing for magazines and acting in plays. In my darkest moments, I never thought I’d see the other side—but by thinking positive (and working hard), I launched two careers and got myself through it. I can honestly say I’m glad it happened. And hopefully, if you’re suffering your own QLC, you’ll soon be able to say the same.
It all started when she burned
And forcefeeding him wasn’t helping