Quarter Life Crisis Project

For many people, their 20’s and even into their early 30’s are a time of decisions and indecisions, of anxieties and stress when it comes to the idea of trying to start on or choose their “life’s path”, or to go forward into their adult years as a “success”. 

The anxiety and sometimes even paralyzing indecision this can produce is often referred to as the quarter life crisis.

I’ve undertaken a photography and writing project that explores the quarter life crisis. The project features individuals who are either currently going through such a stage or those who have gone through it and come out on the other side.

A quarter life crisis looks different for everyone.

Many questions tend to loop around endlessly within the mind of someone in such a situation: Do I change majors? Go back to school? Go to college at all? Switch jobs/careers? Quit this corporate job and start over? Move to a different city? Dump my partner? Marry my partner? Have a child? What’s my “passion”? How can I move out? How can I find a “real” job? What the heck am I going to do when I grow up? How can I follow my definition of success when my parents or society seems to want me to follow theirs?

It’s even been shown that today’s twentysomethings have been impacted by the quarter life crisis more frequently and severely than the youth of prior generations for several reasons, which are discussed in the project.

Despite the reality of the quarter life crisis, many of the older generations invalidate it, making light of it and as a result create a sense of guilt amongst the young people who are experiencing it today. 

Now, the twentysomething feels not only anxious about their life and  future, but guilty for feeling this way, which only serves to bring on more anxiety and depression as well. 

Hopefully by shining some light on this situation, people will take note and listen to some of the stories that these young people bring forth, and see the faces behind the stories. 

They will learn that this tends to be only a small period of a person’s life, and that it needs to be dealt with compassionately, with patience and empathy, and not with a roll of the eyes and or with a derisive remark that will only serve to diminish the importance of this life transition.

This project will include an exhibit with approximately a dozen black and white moody portraits wall hung, along with quotes and brief summaries from individual interviews hanging next to the portraits. 

Eventually, after more portraits and interviews are gathered, I hope to create an art book. 

Each participant will receive a few professional black and white digital images, and the knowledge that they are helping to bring this topic into focus for the older generations and helping others their age feel more normalized.

If you are interested in participating in this project, I’d love to hear from you! Please contact me at jean.kercheval@gmail.com or text me at 206-819-3540 or message me on FB at https://www.facebook.com/jean.kercheval

Here are a few more examples of portraits taken for the project thus far:


2 thoughts on “Quarter Life Crisis Project

  1. I remember turning 18 and told I had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Working for the Navy, I joined the military the following summer. Good decision? I don’t think so. When I was getting out, I STILL didn’t visualize myself at 24.

    Life is a gamble. We have to choose what seems like the best path at the time. I believe the best path is education. We make it hard on our young students and shame on us. I hope this project will help encourage those a with the means to help OUR FUTURE generation past this hurdle.

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