Quarter-Life Crisis: 7/21

Coming of age takes longer than ever.

The quarter-life crisis is the crunch of existential, emotional, and pressing, pragmatic choices that we make—or which make us—in that decade or so after adolescence, before fully adult life begins.

Between our late teens and early thirties, we are coming of age. We’re figuring things out, like what we want to do and who we want to be, and who we want to do and be those things with.

In some times and places, there is no time for quarter-life crisis: there is a quick transition from childhood to adult responsibility. Due to a number of economic and cultural forces, this model of adulthood, with careers, home ownership, spouses, and children, takes longer than ever for many people to achieve, and for Generation Y, it’s more difficult than ever. For some, the resources needed to bring up children seem unattainable before one’s mid-thirties, if at all.

Gentlemen, are you in the throes of the quarter-life?
What are you most worried about? College loan debt? Employment? Marriage? Kids? Something else?
What do you need to achieve to call yourself a man?
Is manhood still inevitable for you, or can you hover in this stage forever?

Have you gotten through the quarter-life crisis?
How did you do it?
Did you redefine successful adulthood for yourself?
How has this affected your self-image as a man?
Are there benefits to having an extended quarter-life?

Tell us your stories of quarter-life crisis.

Email your submissions on the Quarter-Life Crisis theme to Justin Cascio, at justin@goodmenproject.com, by Saturday, July 21 (note that this call has been extended) for consideration.


—Photo credit:  Andres Rueda/Flickr

About Justin Cascio

Justin Cascio is a writer, trans man, and biome. His most recent publication is a short memoir, "Heartbreak and Detox," available on Kindle.
You can follow him on Twitter, Google, and Facebook.


  1. Mine started around age 23. I realized I hadn’t figured anything out, was overweight and unhappy with my job and long term relationship.

    I first quit my job, started a company with 3 friends. Started immersing myself in things that I enjoyed doing (it’s not all fun and games though, really hard work.)

    I broke up with the person I had been dating, I had thought about it for more than a year. I finally took the plunge and did it. It was awful for the first few weeks. All of the sudden I was living in my parents house, lonely and sad.

    I started exercising and eating right. Dropped 70 lbs and quit smoking (mostly, whoops!) I felt so much more confident in myself, and began talking to strangers as an exercise to come out of my shell.

    Four years later I’m doing well, I’ve been in and out of some crappy relationships but have learned so much. I’m tremendously picky about who I associate with as friends and lovers. I immediately set boundaries with people and be as friendly as possible without letting anyone take advantage of me. My weakness growing up was not feeling confident in myself, being a husky awkward nerdy kid before it was socially awesome.

    I gave up on dating for the time being, there’s just not enough time in my live as I obsess over my company and its employees I have grown to love as a family. The level of responsibility feels incredible and I don’t regret any of the difficult choices I’ve had to make on the way.

    I did get an amazingly sweet pitbull who is an excellent companion, staving off loneliness for now. I do know I’ll look again for a partner – but it’s just not the right time in my life.

    To sum it all up, I don’t think I’ll ever have a mid-life crisis. Every day of my life I’m re-evaluating my choices and trying to learn new things about myself. I hope to never feel “stuck” ever again.

  2. My quarterlife crisis started at the age of 25! I was 2 years into an engineering job and was tired of the position where I was…I had a sports car, money in my pocket, and a few women I was dating…living the good life. I then started a job making 6 figures in DC and thats when I realized that paper pushing and bullsh!t meetings where not my thing. I literally started to get sick from the dred of going into work, I hated my job, I in some ways hated my life. I complained to my friends every hour of the day, everyday, day after day….I didnt know what to do. I finally told my boss at the time to take me out of that hell hole and give me my old position back. Went back to my old position and I found that I still wasnt happy! Still making good money but I just felt like I was going into work everyday, slaving away, and going home and having a few drinks! The whole concept of go to school, get a degree, and get a good ole Gov. job that had been pushed and forced into my brain as a kid had a major flaw….it may not make you as happy as you think it will! Here I am at the age of 28, at a new company, fairly happy, but I know that I wont be completely happy until I break free and find what it is that will truly make me happy. I feel like I am out of the major part of the storm with my quarterlife crises but I still have a way to go before I totally figure out my purpose on this planet. Some people figure it out early and some are well into thier 50’s when they figure it out. The main thing I have learned is to DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!! DONT CHASE THE MONEY, IT WONT MAKE YOU TOTALLY HAPPY!! Trust me I know!
    Cant wait till the mid life crisis happens…SMH!!!

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