The Quarter-Life Crises? - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 04-29-2007, 11:43 AM   #1
The Fly
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Australia
Posts: 236
Local Time: 09:21 AM
The Quarter-Life Crises?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/lif...icle847599.ece

Crying on the inside
They’re young, free, single — but are they having a great time? No, says Damian Barr, they’re suffering the ‘quarterlife crisis’



My hair is really long right now. So long I can chew it. And it’s big — Texan-televangelist big. Tons of wax and a westerly wind keep it vaguely under control. I don’t even like it. But I am resisting pressure to get it cut. Why? I am 27 and a half years old. If I get savaged by scissors now my hair will take two years to grow back. By then I’ll be nearly 30. Which means I’ll look like some twat trying to get down with the kids. This is my last chance to have long locks. So the mane stays, however inappropriate. It’s a trophy from my twenties.
We’ve no problem abandoning acne and all the ugly baggage of our teens. Au revoir to all that. Physically, socially and sexually, our twenties are supposed to be our peak. We twentysomethings are supposed to be hopping from gym to party to bed (with pauses in the boardroom). But it’s not like that.

It’s like this. You’re 25, but feel 45. You should be having the time of your life. But all you do is stress about your future-free job, scary debts, alleged friends and non-existent partner. If your life was a movie it would go straight to video. And nobody would rent it.

You’re not alone. Ask any twentysomething how they’re doing and they will bravely say, “fine”. They might well be. But scratch the surface and you’ll see that for many of us all is not fine. Not really. Far from roaring, your twenties are an extended mourning period. Wave goodbye to the metabolism which lets you eat anything and stay thin. Cry for the constitution which gets you over hangovers in hours not days. Watch in horror as your eyebrows turn to topiary. We stop growing and start ageing. And the freedom-responsibility balance tips as we are faced with the three Ms — mortgage, monogamy and marriage.

Feeling you should be having, doing or being more is the core of the “quarterlife crisis”. Suddenly, 30 is so close you can smell it and everyone is doing better than you (or seems to be). The excitement of graduation fades. Real life sets in. And it’s expensive, ugly and competitive. We feel stressed, inadequate and somehow not quite as good as our peers. We feel poorer, less successful and less together. We feel, even though we’re only twentysomething, that our lives are in crisis.

Why? Property has never been more expensive, work has never been so insecure and debt has never been so pervasive Yet we’re all supposed to be as carefree as the women in tampon adverts. “You worry too much,” says my mother, unaware of my five credit cards or the high-low realities of freelancing.

If, as we’re constantly told, the world is our oyster, it’s definitely a dodgy one. Unlike the midlife crisis, the quarterlife crisis is not widely recognised. There are are no “experts” to help us. We have no support apart from each other.

This is partly because no other generation has had a quarterlife crisis or graduated straight into such crippling debt — £12,700 on average and nearly £15,000 in London. No other generation has had so much choice or such great expectations. So we have become the experts on our own lives even when we expertly f*** them up. It’s just fine for your father to leave your mother for a motorbike half her age while she pursues her passion for home-shopping. But dare to share even a teensy bit of trauma and you’re slammed as self-indulgent. Apparently, we don’t know how lucky we are.

Researching my book, I travelled the UK talking to twentysomethings. There were, undoubtedly, some whiners. And I did want to slap a few trustafarians. But, 200 conversations later, it was clear. The quarterlife crisis is real: getting and keeping it together has never been harder.

Our twenties are not, as they were for our parents, ten years of tie-dye fun and quality me-time. Being twentysomething now is scary — fighting millions of other graduates for your first job, undergoing medical experiments to raise a mortgage deposit and finding time to juggle all your relationships.

We have the misfortune to be catapulted into a perilous property market. You will never have a home as big as the one you grew up in. The home your parents are secretly sucking equity from to fund painting holidays while you struggle to paint over the damp in your sixfigure studio flat.

Financially, the outlook is mixed. We’re earning more, and spending more, than ever. Now averaging £13,422 outside London, graduate salaries are great — even greater if you can find a graduate job. Gone are the days of raking in the bargain corner. No more dented tins. You’re off the breadline and on the focaccia line. It’s not easy, but it is easier.

That is partly because we use credit in ways our parents would never consider. Because we have to. For us, red is the new black — one in three callers to the National Debtline are now aged 25 to 30. Currently, I owe about £10,000 give or take £1,000. We’re getting into debt to finance our degrees, careers and accommodation. It’s not fun money. We need debt to live.

We are now also more likely to be depressed. The Depression Alliance says one in five adults is depressed at any time but it estimates that a third of twentysomethings have the doom. That didn’t used to be the case. Another cheery fact: suicide now accounts for a fifth of all deaths in this country by young people. That’s two twentysomethings a day.

Plenty of people are going to say the quarterlife crisis doesn’t exist. Let them. My father doesn’t believe in it. But consider that it’s not so long ago that the menopause, the midlife crisis and other life-stage problems were dismissed as self-indulgent. We’re convinced everyone else is having more (and better) sex, doing more (and better) drugs and generally having more fun than we are. And maybe they are. Our parents certainly did. But you aren’t the only twentysomething who hasn’t bought a great house, snared a gorgeous partner, paid off hideous debts and landed a dream job. In reality, few of us have. Most are just as freaked out as you are that your twenties are bigger, scarier and harder than promised. It’s just that nobody really talks about it. Until now.

So . . . you don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going or whether you should buy a flat, get a pension or go travelling. Who cares? You have the rest of your life to work that s*** out. The decisions we make now are incredibly important, but they’re rarely irreversible. In the meantime, I think I’ll get my hair cut. Just a little bit shorter. I can always grow it back
__________________

__________________
Halifax is offline  
Old 04-29-2007, 03:05 PM   #2
Rock n' Roll Doggie
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Strong Badia
Posts: 3,430
Local Time: 09:21 AM
http://www.amazon.com/Quarterlife-Cr...7873242&sr=8-1
__________________

__________________
nathan1977 is offline  
Old 05-01-2007, 01:54 PM   #3
Breakdancing Soul Pilgrim
 
UberBeaver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: the most serious...douch hammer ever
Posts: 20,318
Local Time: 04:21 AM
Honestly, that sounds to me like a whiny sort of rant. Deal with it, man. I'm 32 now. At 27 I had car debt, credit card debt, a mortgage, student loans, a new wife, a new house, a new job. You just go day to day and deal with it. It's not a crisis, it's life.
__________________
UberBeaver is offline  
Old 05-01-2007, 02:34 PM   #4
Halloweenhead
Forum Moderator
 
Bonochick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Cherry Lane
Posts: 40,816
Local Time: 05:21 AM

I guess I should consider myself fortunate. I'm 25, and if all goes according to plan, I will have my car and student loans paid off by this fall. I live in a nice house with a great guy. I say with 100% confidence and honesty that I am happy. Finally.

I do worry that some big event could happen to take away some or all of what I have...but anything can happen, I can't dwell on it.
__________________
"Knight in shining Zubaz."

Bonochick [at] interference.com
Bonochick is offline  
Old 05-01-2007, 05:19 PM   #5
ONE
love, blood, life
 
A_Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: The Wild West
Posts: 12,518
Local Time: 07:21 PM
Fortune favours those who don't sit around whining ~ so get a book deal by publishing the whining of others.
__________________
A_Wanderer is offline  
Old 05-01-2007, 08:08 PM   #6
Jesus Online
 
Angela Harlem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: a glass castle
Posts: 30,163
Local Time: 08:21 PM
Forgive me for not crying a river. It's adulthood. It's full of debt and real and actual hardships.
__________________
<a href=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v196/angelaharlem/thPaul_Roos28.jpg target=_blank>http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...aul_Roos28.jpg</a>
Angela Harlem is offline  
Old 05-01-2007, 09:38 PM   #7
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,297
Local Time: 04:21 AM
Every period in life is hard. Maybe our parents spoiled my generation - I don't know.

But eventually you have to stand up on your own two feet. I have student debt, so, you don't buy expensive clothes, you work a lot during the summer and eventually you pay it back. Nobody needs to have a McMansion and a BMW by the time they're 28. Why anyone would want a McMansion in the suburbs is beyond me anyway.

You can live perfectly happy modestly. If you're an unhappy person, you could make a million and have a perfect spouse and still be unhappy. We can't control life or things that happen but we can control how we react to what happens to us.
__________________
anitram is offline  
Old 05-01-2007, 11:53 PM   #8
War Child
 
Ormus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Frontios
Posts: 758
Local Time: 05:21 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Forgive me for not crying a river. It's adulthood. It's full of debt and real and actual hardships.
Part of the problem is generational, at least in America.

My parents' generation had job security, low tuition rates (if you even bothered to go to college; you could still live well on a high school diploma or a A.A. My uncle was considered "overeducated" in the early 1970s with a B.A.), guaranteed retirement pensions, full health benefits, and cheap cars. The only substantial debt my parents had was their mortgage (while my grandparents' generation didn't even need that; they were able to pay cash for their house).

For further evidence, I conversed with someone employed as a psychologist who was in his 60s. He related a story where he was able to work a regular student-type job for a summer to pay for an entire year's worth of a private university. Nowadays, you can't even remotely do that for a public university.

Today? We have massive student loans for college degrees that are little more than work permits for shitty jobs that pay crap, car loans if you live outside the few urban areas with reliable public transportation--and crushingly high rent prices if you live in those urban areas even for the most basic apartments, negating any savings from not having a car, no job security, no pensions (we have to hope that the stock market continues to go up, otherwise we don't retire), record-high real estate prices, and weak health insurance with lots of out-of-pocket costs.

Basically, it's not as cut-and-dry as it seems.
__________________
Ormus is offline  
Old 05-02-2007, 09:47 AM   #9
Blue Crack Supplier
 
Irvine511's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 30,499
Local Time: 04:21 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus
The only substantial debt my parents had was their mortgage (while my grandparents' generation didn't even need that; they were able to pay cash for their house).


it stuns me that i'll have to pay around $400K for a one-bedroom (!!!) condo if i live inside the District, and nearly as much if i were to live in northern virginia. compare that to the house -- 3 bedroom house in a semi-uppity CT suburb -- i was born in that my father bought in 1977 for $65K. if i want to be responsible and put down a 20% payment on said condo, i'll have to save $80K. how one does that ... i don't know. this is probably why kids, wealthy kids, remain dependent upon their parents well into adulthood for things like down payments.

the reality is that, yes, adulthood is hard, and we shouldn't begrudge anyone any growing pains. we've all had them, and we learn from them. malaise will get you nowhere, and i have seen my financial situation improve dramatically over the past year due to a hard earned promotion, and if things continue to go as they should, things will continue to get better. being an adult, to me, seems to have everything to do with tenacity and the willingness to do the things you don't want to do.

but there is also the reality that, yes, it was easier for previous generations to afford things like houses, and it was also drastically easier to not only afford a college education but to be accepted into a top-tier school.

it's a vastly more competitive world today than it was in 1965, and i don't think a small amount of moaning is worthy of scorn. maybe a cup of hot chocolate, a pep talk and a pat on the back, but not scorn.
__________________
Irvine511 is offline  
Old 05-02-2007, 09:48 AM   #10
Breakdancing Soul Pilgrim
 
UberBeaver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: the most serious...douch hammer ever
Posts: 20,318
Local Time: 04:21 AM
That's true Ormus, but a lot of those things have alternatives. You can buy a used car, avoid that debt - or use mass transit - no insurance either! Go to a state school and live at home, save a lot there. Get a cheaper apartment out in the suburbs, save a ton of money there. But people don't want the alternatives, they give into to the higher standards, so they get themselves into debt.
__________________
UberBeaver is offline  
Old 05-02-2007, 09:58 AM   #11
War Child
 
Ormus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Frontios
Posts: 758
Local Time: 05:21 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by UberBeaver
That's true Ormus, but a lot of those things have alternatives. You can buy a used car, avoid that debt - or use mass transit - no insurance either! Go to a state school and live at home, save a lot there. Get a cheaper apartment out in the suburbs, save a ton of money there. But people don't want the alternatives, they give into to the higher standards, so they get themselves into debt.
Used cars are not cheap either. They still require a loan, unless you want a clunker--and then you'll be spending lots of money on car repairs.

Cities with viable mass transit are also expensive cities. Sky-high rent costs, coupled with expensive monthly mass transit passes (comparable to the monthly costs of car insurance in rural areas, in many cases) negate any potential savings.

State universities are not affordable either. Sure, they're more affordable than private schools, for the most part, but I still racked up $20,000 in student loans going to a public, in-state university.

That's the point: there are no alternatives to running up massive debt these days. The "Me Generation" got everything handed to them and burned all their bridges on the way out.

It makes me want to cut off their Social Security and Medicare benefits.
__________________
Ormus is offline  
Old 05-02-2007, 10:29 AM   #12
Refugee
 
BostonAnne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Posts: 2,052
Local Time: 05:21 AM
I agree with Ormus that things were much more affordable in prior generations. I worry about my kids and I hope that our relationship is good enough that they will stay home with me and save/keep out of debt in their early 20's.
__________________
BostonAnne is offline  
Old 05-02-2007, 12:22 PM   #13
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,297
Local Time: 04:21 AM
How many parents these days are helping their kids with the sky-rocketing tuition? I'm not talking about parents who are themselves lower class and can't afford to help (although by comparison, we came here as refugees and my parents were not only poor but as Oprah says: "po" and they worked 2-3 jobs so we had no undergraduate debt, and didn't go on a vacation for 15 years...). I'm talking about friends of mine whose parents are at least middle-upper middle class and feel like when that kid hits 18, they're done. I know this is probably a cultural issue, and immigrants treat their kids differently, but I just don't understand at all how somebody can got to the Caribbean twice a year and drive a BMW and live in a McMansion and watch their 22 year old start life out $75K in the hole. It's incomprehensible to me, so I guess it's some kind of culture shock.
__________________
anitram is offline  
Old 05-02-2007, 01:39 PM   #14
ONE
love, blood, life
 
Canadiens1131's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 10,363
Local Time: 05:21 AM
I can't wait until we have machines which can be hooked directly into the pleasure centre of the brain, so that people like this article writer can stop whining and sit in a dark room and receive unending pleasure and let the rest of us get on with our awesome lives now that they're not making up stupid terms for stupid concepts.
__________________
Canadiens1131 is offline  
Old 05-02-2007, 02:56 PM   #15
Rock n' Roll Doggie
Band-aid
 
ntalwar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4,900
Local Time: 04:21 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Ormus

Used cars are not cheap either. They still require a loan, unless you want a clunker--and then you'll be spending lots of money on car repairs.

Cities with viable mass transit are also expensive cities. Sky-high rent costs, coupled with expensive monthly mass transit passes (comparable to the monthly costs of car insurance in rural areas, in many cases) negate any potential savings.
Under $10k will get a good used car, and housing is significantly cheaper in some parts of country. The $400k for the 1BR DC condo(mentioned above) can buy a McMansion in somewhere like Raleigh or Austin. Another factor in increasing living costs is simply population growth concentrated in certain cities and regions.
__________________

__________________
ntalwar is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:21 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com