Quarter-life Crisis

the graduate

The quarterlife crisis is a period of life following the major changes of adolescence, usually ranging from the late teens to the early thirties, in which a person begins to feel doubtful about their own lives, brought on by the stress of becoming an adult. The term was coined by analogy with mid-life crisis. It occurs shortly after a young person enters the ‘real world.’ Austrian psychologist Erik H. Erikson, who described eight crises that humans face during their development, proposed the existence of a life crisis occurring at this age.

The conflict he associated with young adulthood is the ‘Intimacy vs. Isolation’ crisis. According to him, after establishing a personal identity in adolescence, young adults seek to form intense, usually romantic relationships with other people. The notion of the quarter-life crisis is explored by the 1967 film ‘The Graduate,’ one of the first film depictions of this issue. Other notable films that also do so are ‘Garden State,’ ‘High Fidelity,’ and ‘Lost in Translation.’ The 2008 web series ‘Quarterlife’ was so named for the phenomenon.


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