What I Did When I Experienced Quarter-Life Crisis

Updated: May 14, 2023

The word “optimism” comes from the Latin word optimus which means the best. However, we all know that our best expectations don’t always happen.

Sometimes, things can go from bad to worse, and everything in our life may seem to be going all wrong. Has this happened to you? It has to me, a few years ago.

What is Quarter-Life Crisis?

You may be familiar with the term quarter-life crisis. If not, it’s what they call the stage in life when one realizes that life is unfair, cruel, hard, and living in this world seems to be meaningless.

Wikipedia further explains quarter-life crisis as this:

After entering adult life and coming to terms with its responsibilities, some individuals find themselves experiencing career stagnation or extreme insecurity.

The individual often realizes the real world is tougher, more competitive, and less forgiving than they imagined.

Furthermore, the qualifications they have spent so much time and money earning are not likely to prepare them for this disillusionment.

Are you experiencing a quarter-life crisis? Do you feel that your life is just a daily routine and you seem to be going nowhere? Is the rat race wearing you down?

If so, how do you overcome these feelings of anxiety, depression, insecurity, and frustration?

How I coped with Quarter-Life Crisis

What worked for me was to change my perspective of life. I changed into a realistically optimistic person.

I started by believing that I can, and will eventually overcome life’s problems.

And if I can be kind and compassionate to myself, then I’ll learn how to achieve my dreams and have the capacity to live life to its fullest.

A pessimist will say that’s BS, but really it isn’t.

However, it’s also important to realize that even though “miracles can happen”. I also believe that one cannot live on optimism alone. One also needs a good dose of reality with it.

Be careful of unfounded optimism

Unfounded optimism can result in unrealistic expectations, which can disappoint and frustrate us.

That’s why I advocate realistic optimism, which means knowing what is possible and having hoping the best will happen. But also being prepared and accepting if unfavorable circumstances happen.

What do I exactly mean by this?

Let’s say that you just lost your job, and you’re currently facing a great amount of debt. Worse, you’re also the breadwinner of your family. How can realistic optimism help in this situation?

Well, you can start by taking stock of what you have: your skills and talents, your friends and social network, the moral support of your family… everything. And then realize that the ONLY thing you lost was your job, and NOT yourself.

Believe that you will find new work in time. Rally your family to do their part in getting cash flow for the household, and believe that they can help.

Don’t queue in lottery lines expecting you will win, that’s highly improbable and unrealistic. Don’t expect that money will come miraculously to your doorstep when you need it, but be optimistic that you will find income if you act and look for it.

What realistic optimism means

Being realistically optimistic means seeing the best possible solution to every problem, acting on it, and believing it will work; and just in case it doesn’t – it’s okay because you have a backup plan.

There’s a fine line between being highly optimistic and being realistically grounded. And it takes practice to live exactly along the border.

Always remember that life is a mental game.

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  1. I love this post, Fitz! I am about to turn 25 and so far, it’s been the best year of my life. Things are looking up and I’d like to credit myself for being realistically optimistic. I never know when I will be on that QLC path though, and when I do, I will come back to this post of yours 🙂


  2. Just like the mid-life crisis causes old men to buy sports cars, when I had my quarter life crisis, i totally decided to take a break from working altogether, and watched my savings slowly drain away – as I moved to the Philippines at that time!!

    I have recovered the money that I lost, but the time, although it was a valuable experience, could have been used more wisely, and then save the “retirement” for when I am old …

    but things do tend to seem easier to predict after the fact in retrospect!

    Anyway,, for the past, bahala na, for the future – maraming trabaho, maraming reward!


  3. Amazing post. I always try to be optimistic! I learned that being optimistic has only pros, at least you don’t waste your time on spoiling your life even more, like pessimists are doing. Pessimists are so involved in their problems that they can’t even notice the new chances one problem can open for you. Stay optimistic always!

  4. Yes, I have been experiencing anxiety and depression lately. I know I have to be positive, and reading this post affirms it. Thanks Fritz!

  5. just like what my spiritual director (Sr. Josefa Ocampo D.C) always say believe in “DIVINE PROVIDENCE”..
    sometimes I don’t really understand what she’s saying. But I think the mean meaning is don’t lose HOPE ” God is always there for us “.

  6. I like this post.

    ‘There’s a fine line between being highly optimistic and being realistically grounded. And it takes practice to live exactly along the border.’

    True! This is also similar to those who are pessimistic like me who are trying to be optimistic. It would take so many attempts before you get used to it and eventually become positive without you realizing it.

  7. Admittedly, I never really thought about a “quarter life crisis.” I do understand that part of this message is about the transition you are in. You should have finished most of your education and have experienced a few real work situations. Now you know, as this article points out, life is NOT always fair and that their is “NO FREE LUNCH.” For me, I was always looking forward to the mid-life crisis. I wanted that little red sports car, motorcycle collection and oh yeas, my boat for a retreat. The funny thing is, I worked at so many things, sometimes in very dangerous situations and had such a blast that when I hit mid-life, all the “toys” did not seam to matter to me so much anymore.

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