The Quarter-Life Crisis: What to do

Gabe Kwakyi
7 min readJan 14, 2023

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…

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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