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The quarterlife crisis is a period of life usually ranging from the late teens to the early thirties, in which a person begins to feel doubtful about their own lives, brought on by the stress of becoming an adult. The term was coined by analogy with mid-life crisis.
According to The Boston Globe, the quarter-life crisis occurs in one's twenties, after entering the "real world". Erik H. Erikson, who proposed eight crises that humans face during their development, proposed the existence of a life crisis occurring at this age. The conflict he associated with young adulthood is the Intimacy vs. Isolation crisis. According to him, after establishing a personal identity in adolescence, young adults seek to form intense, usually romantic relationships with other people.
Common symptoms of a quarter life crisis are often feelings of being "lost, scared, lonely or confused" about what steps to take in order to transition properly into adulthood. Studies have shown that unemployment and choosing a career path is a major cause for young persons to undergo stress or anxiety. Early stages of one living on their own for the first time and learning to cope without parental help can also induce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Recently, Generation Y, also known as the millennials, are sometimes referred to as the Boomerang Generation or Peter Pan Generation, because of the members' perceived penchant for delaying some rites of passage into adulthood for longer periods than previous generations. These labels were also a reference to a trend toward members living with their parents for longer periods than previous generations.
The notion of the quarter-life crisis is explored by the 1967 film The Graduate, one of the first film depictions of this issue. Other notable films that also do so are The Paper Chase, St. Elmo's Fire, How to Be, Garden State, Accepted, Ghost World, High Fidelity, (500) Days of Summer, Lost in Translation, Silver Linings Playbook and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, as well as the musical Avenue Q and the HBO television series, Girls. The 2008 web series Quarterlife was so named for the phenomenon. Other movies exploring the quarter-life crisis include, Reality Bites, Tiny Furniture, The Puffy Chair, Fight Club, Stranger than Fiction, Greenberg, Frances Ha and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.