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Thread: Mid-twenties crisis: a new phenomenon?

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    Default Mid-twenties crisis: a new phenomenon?

    Just about everyone I know in their mid-to-late twenties is going through an identity crisis of some kind at the moment, and I've been wondering what this is about. I don't see much evidence of it in earlier generations, although the mid-life crises of the boomers were well-publicized. I've repeatedly heard it said that people are having their crises much younger now. Any thoughts?

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    I need to leave in a moment, but I think in the past people's lives were very much planned out for them, and they never hit a crisis until they felt the onset of middle/old age and realized they weren't happy.

    Nowadays in our culture, we have SO many choices that I think it is bewildering, and we always feel as if we're missing something or not getting as much out of life as we could be. Hence, more confusion, earlier on. Kids are even living with their parents to much older ages, and waiting longer to marry as well.
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    They expect my generation to change jobs every 1-2 years for the length of our careers. At the ripe old age of 26, I have held 8 "permanent" jobs, and worked as a consultant for over 60 companies for various lengths of time. At ~20, I had a bit of a crisis, myself, which resulted in my becoming a freelance consultant (I was tired of the randomness and unreliability of full-time employers, plus the low pay). I've only worked at my current employer for 4 months, and it's still difficult, but at least the work is more interesting. I'm hoping to stay for a decade or more like my predecessor, but it's hard to say, and I'm so accustomed to reading these auto-generated job listings that I still haven't stopped.

    The last major turning point was when I saved enough to move somewhere and started sending resumes to companies in a few target areas, telling them I'm prepared to move at my own expense, then saw what came up. The one I took was actually totally random, the chance of my seeing it was almost nonexistent. I consider the finding of the job posting quite serendipitous, because I never would have seen it had I not mis-clicked that day.
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    Disclaimer: The above is my opinion and mine alone, it does not mean I cannot change my mind, nor does it guarantee that my comments are related to any deep-seated convictions. Take everything I say with a whole snowplow worth of salt and call me in the morning, if you can.

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    I've been wondering if it's solely due to a lack of long-term vocation, and its presumed accompanying sense of belonging. These days the usual indicators of success are less visible (promotions, respect in community etc). Is this a reason young people seem more attracted to join the army these days? Rigid structure and thus less choices to make, opportunities for measurable progress, buying into patriotism as a source of belonging.

    I've also noticed that women seem to have an easier run through their twenties, though I may be wrong. Maybe they just get married or have kids when they hit their crisis. Or get a divorce.

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    Perhaps we just throw the word crisis around too easily. That might explain it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    I've been wondering if it's solely due to a lack of long-term vocation, and its presumed accompanying sense of belonging. These days the usual indicators of success are less visible (promotions, respect in community etc). Is this a reason young people seem more attracted to join the army these days? Rigid structure and thus less choices to make, opportunities for measurable progress, buying into patriotism as a source of belonging.

    I've also noticed that women seem to have an easier run through their twenties, though I may be wrong. Maybe they just get married or have kids when they hit their crisis. Or get a divorce.
    Interesting. I ticked the boxes, but I was rejected by four of the five armed forces over the phone (the last must've finally got the memo. Apparently, at the time, they could readily turn people away because there were so many people willing to join) due to medical conditions. I didn't fear selective service after that - if they ever tried to draft me, I would have told them that I wanted to join, but they rejected me for X reason, and I don't see how they could force me to go when they already rejected me. I'm now so freaking old that all I have to worry about is an actual land invasion, because they probably wouldn't draft me even if I was in perfect shape at this point. The funny thing is that they were extremely interested (and so was I), until near the end of the call when he asked if I had any medical conditions, and rattled off a few... I had to admit to a couple of them, and, though disappointed, they told me there was no way they could accept me.

    Yes, it was a bit of a way to belong, but also a way to fulfill a number of my targets in life. Even with a full-time "permanent" job, I never feel that I actually belong; I am forever anticipating when I will need to move on, because that has been the norm in my life rather than the exception.
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    Disclaimer: The above is my opinion and mine alone, it does not mean I cannot change my mind, nor does it guarantee that my comments are related to any deep-seated convictions. Take everything I say with a whole snowplow worth of salt and call me in the morning, if you can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naem View Post
    We age a lot faster now, especially those of us in urban areas.

    I'm wondering if the current generation in starting college is going to be a bit of a throwback in having their lives planned out by their parents hovering via cellphones and email. Universities now actually have departments devoted just to keeping parents from bothering professors. Sad, really. I would have been beyond horrified if my parents rang up one of my professors because they didn't like the amount of homework, score on a test, etc.

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    Apparently it's starting to extend into their jobs after college.
    My room mate last year, use to have her mom write her papers. another one who had so many allergies that she required a special diet where she had to have specially prepared dishes. Her mom would send her food in the mail just so she could eat. My mom was that's ridiculous she should learn how to cook or starve. On the essay thing wtf! how hard is it to write a paper for a class. I understand if your stuck calling up your mom and just talking the idea out to make sure what you're trying to say makes sense.

  9. #9

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    The simple answer is freedom. Horrible, horrible freedom!

    Even in previous generations the extended family unit eventually dissolved into the more basic nuclear family unit. Now families are often either one parent or two parents in different households. Youths don't always have two parental role models not to mention possible grandparents, aunt, uncles, etc... that are a common part of the family unit in more traditional cultures. Youths to a large extent have to pave their own path. They have to make their own mistakes that they wouldn't necessarily have to make if they had some elderly wisdom. This means that they might doubt themselves more or burn out quicker or other factors that simulate a mid-life crisis.

    Add to this that we also have a lot more luxuries today, and this tends to give us higher expectations of what we want for happiness. In earlier times if you were married and had a job, then that was pretty good. That is not necessarily the outlook that youths today have. They must have the "right" job and the "right" spouse, etc.... I believe in general people today are less appreciative of the things they have, and this causes this doubting and "mid-life crisis" effect in young adults.
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    I'm just not sure it's a new phenomenon. Isn't this idea what Generation X is all about? Even shows like "Friends", "Seinfeld", etc. have been showing people in their twenties basically adrift in life.

    There isn't a great deal of stability in life anymore. Everything is in flux. Teenagers have their ideals, depression, and angst. People in their 20's have developed some skills, but are shocked by how different life actually is. People in their thirties are either busy with their kids and put their own lives on hold, or they realize their choices in their 20's require reassessment. Forties give you your basic mid-life crises where you realize you are too old to go back and do it all again. You start your health problems in your 50's and on up.

    I kinda think life = crisis.
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