The Quarter-Life Crisis: What to do

Gabe Kwakyi
7 min readJan 14

If you are between the ages of 25 and 35 and have been struggling for months on end with feelings of failure, doubt, apathy, depression, or anxiety — you may be in the midst of a Quarter-Life Crisis.

How do you navigate a Quarter-Life Crisis?

The process will look different for each person, however there are 4 main stages that underly an individual’s passage through a Quarter-Life Crisis, based on the work of adult developmental researcher and professor, Dr Oliver Robinson. These 4 stages are as follows:

Stage 1: Feeling Trapped

Stage 2: Realizing Change is Possible

Stage 3: Rebuilding

Stage 4: Solidifying

Stage 1: Feeling Trapped

In the first stage, the individual feels an acute sense of being trapped in a commitment such as a job or relationship, or life situation. The desire for something else can become intense, as can the feeling of hopelessness and despair.

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Stage 1 can be triggered by many different causes, but here are a few examples:

  • Experiencing a work burnout
  • Feeling stagnant in work or life, but being unsure of what to do next in life
  • Facing a big loss in life, such as the death of a loved one or the end of a romantic relationship
  • Negative comparisons about oneself vs one’s peer group or network, or a sense of falling behind or not achieving enough
  • Becoming disconnected from one’s support network and family as a result of people moving, becoming more busy, or starting relationships/families

The thoughts and feelings from stage 1 may lurk for a long time beneath the conscious surface (in the “shadow” self, as termed by psychoanalyst Carl Jung), causing intense disruptions at the conscious level before an individual even…

Gabe Kwakyi

A curious mind and a passionate personal development coach, specializing in life, career, and business coaching for people in the technology and business fields