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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A new generation of 20-somethings is wrestling with an age-old problem, 25 years too early.
A growing trend that experts call the “quarter-life crisis” has many young men and women feeling lost, wanting more, and needing a change.
“I’m not really doing what I want to do, and I’m always mad at myself that I’m not further along,” Jason Wood, 24, recently told CBS 2′s Maurice Dubois.
Others said they still haven’t figured out what it is they want out of life.
“You’re trying to figure out, is this really what I want and why have I been working so hard to get here?” Sara Angle said.
These people are only in their 20s, and are just beginning their lives. It should be a time filled with promise and possibility, but many of them said they are already disillusioned.
“The promise of our parents was, we can do whatever we want. You find yourself a couple years later behind a desk wondering where that promise went,” 29-year-old Marjorie Korn said.
While the mid-life crisis typically affects people in their 50s, this quarter-life crisis is happening to young people as much as 30 years younger.
“You’re trapped in this relationship; you’re trapped in this job; you don’t really see a future for yourself,” explained Carin Gorell of Self magazine.
The crisis typically begins after college, when the 20-something enters “the real world,” according to experts.
“That’s when you start asking yourself, ‘wait, have I made the right decisions?’” Gorell explained.
According to experts and psychiatrists, the growing identity meltdown could be linked to a pressure to succeed that has been thrust upon this generation from a very young age.
“You’re fighting to be the top of your high school class, and you’re fighting to be at the top of your college class, and you finally get out into the workforce, and then once you get there you’re fighting to be at the top again. It’s never ending,” Angle explained.
Psychiatrist Drew Ramsey told CBS 2 that the current generation has spent so much time fighting for its future that it has skipped living in the moment. The result is an exhausted and unsatisfied demographic of young people.
“It’s a very different world. Those of us who are older need to recognize the challenges that come with it,” Dr. Ramsey said.
For some, the only way to deal with a quarter-life crisis is to walk away from everything and start over.
“I’m so much happier. I listened to what my insides were telling me,” Korn said.
Walking away and starting over may not be for everyone, but experts told CBS 2 that there is plenty of help that 20-somethings can get as they try to deal with a quarter-life crisis.
“The most painful part of the 20s is you feel like you really have to know, and you don’t. You’ll go through life like the rest of us doing the best you can and it all gets figured out pretty well,” Dr. Ramsey said.
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