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Boomer Kids' Quarterlife Crisis

Posted Dec 10 2008 12:16am

How to Survive Your 20-Something's Midlife Crisis

Mid-life crisis, quarterlife crisis, all around angst. I want to stop the world and get off. I want to run away from home. But I know that this knee-jerk reaction is a subconscious fear that I can't handle "it".

The "it" in this post is a child's 20-something, quarter-something, WTF-not again crisis. Many of my readers are struggling with their own insecurities about unmet expectations in midlife, and they may not have the emotional reserves or stamina to manage their adult children's quarterlife crisis as well.

Prior to reading Quarterlife Qualms, I was fuming about my son's irresponsible behavior, yet again. I just didn't get it. How hard is it to get a job and keep it for more than six months?

Quarterlife Qualms provides some insight into this "quarterlife crisis for twentysomethings:"

  1. Competition in the job market has intensified with a 53% increase in college enrollment since 1970.*
  2. Attaining a decent standard of living requires a college degree today.
  3. To reach the level that their parents have achieved often requires a professional degree.
  4. College didn't prepare them for the harsh realities of "real life" nor did their parents (emphasis mine.)

"It's like, 'Man, I didn't ask to be an adult.... I don't feel like one. I still feel like I'm in high school...' ," said Jeff Milone, 27, founder of Quarterlives - Truth in Our Twenties.

For us "helicopter parents," therein lies the rub.

How many of my female readers were pregnant with their first (or second) child by the time they were 27; how many men (women) had been in the adult workplace for 5+ years?

All together now, "When I was your age...!" OMG - we've become our parents.

It all boils down to expectations. We can blame society, the econmony, pop culture or ourselves. I believe that there is a correlation between the quarterlife crisis and the midlife crisis.

Two twenty-something women quoted in the post agree. They believe that "if you really go through the quarterlife crisis on a deep or profound level, you might be able to escape another crisis in midlife."

What can Boomer parents do? Lower one's expectations. Reward positive behavior and ignore the rest. Understanding and tolerance go a long way.

Funny. That's the advice I give when women ask, "How can I deal with my husband's midlife crisis?

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