Last week I turned 27, and have officially survived two years past a quarter century. But I have yet to have a quarter-century crisis, and recent data suggests I’m in the minority. A recent poll of 25-33 year olds found that 75% have experienced such a crisis.
The survey also found that the top cause of such a crisis is finding a job or career that they are passionate about (61%). Just under half (48%) report feeling anxiety by comparing themselves to more successful friends, with 51% of females reporting this versus only 41% of men.
The concept of periodic crisis in life was first publicized by Canadian psychologist Elliot Jaques. While he was researching artists like Mozart, Raphael, and Gaugin, he realized many of his clients also experienced decline in creative work in their thirties similar to the great artists. He believed as people approached middle-age, they became more aware of the finiteness of their lives, and reported increased fear that they might not reach all their goals. From this, the idea of the midlife crisis was born.
A 2013 poll reported that just twenty-one percent of adults believe a mid-life crisis is a “biological necessity” and 60% thought it was just an excuse for “acting unfavorably” in middle age.
Today, one stereotype of a midlife crisis is buying a new car. In fact, a recent survey found that a quarter of American adults consider it likely they will buy a car, related to a midlife crisis. With some disagreement about the type of car purchased. Men are more drawn to a sports car, with 30% saying they would like a black sports car, in contrast the plurality of women (21%) picked a red SUV.
As I edge towards my 28th birthday, I have a few more years until I am safe from a quarter-century crisis. And, even if I avoid it, there could always be a red midlife crisis SUV in my future.