“I honestly felt like this was going to be it for the rest of my life. I know that sounds pathetic, but I was really depressed about it. I just wanted so much more.”
Some parents call it whining. Others call it soft. Our naivety is questioned. But what do they really know about the quarter-life crisis?
There’s no question about it for 26 year-old Sarah Harrison – the QLC is a very real experience.
Fresh out of the University of Nottingham and raring to crack the glass ceiling, no one could have predicted that in the space of two years she’d have quit her job and moved back in with her parents. Feeling disillusioned by the life she was once so excited about, she sank into clinical depression.
“I was meant to be proud.”
For the then 24 year-old, working in London as a Sales Executive for a publishing company “wasn’t enough”. She says: “I came out of uni, out of three years of freedom essentially, thinking that life could only get better. I’d be getting paid more money than I’d ever earned in the past, I’d be in the middle of the city, I’d have a job that was respected. I was meant to be proud.”
But the reality of long hours, deadlines, and rainy commutes into the midst of glass towers and grey concrete soon hit home.
Her face drops as she reflects: “Everything just seemed so dreary. I’d always pictured the city as some vibrant centre where everything was going on.”
In comparison with her parents’ home in Cornwall, the city had initially seemed like a haven. Stylish bars filled with classy people were around any given corner – opportunities for fun were hardly scarce.
But along with people came competition, and along with money came stress.
“I just felt like I was in this huge race against all my co-workers! We were all mates outside of work but as soon as we got in it was just go go go, sell sell sell.”
“Everything just seemed so dreary. I’d always pictured the city as some vibrant centre where everything was going on.”
When posed with the question of sacrificing independence to move back in with her parents she pauses, leaning on her elbow in thought, before admitting that there’s things she misses about living in the city: “The thing is, without the 12 hours of commuting and working, and the constant pressure from work, the city would probably have been great. But after a year of that lifestyle I was shattered. I needed to stop.”
However she maintains that she “won’t go back” to the city unless it’s for a job she’s certain she’ll enjoy.
“Right now I’m at a place where I’m just deciding what to do. Which is great while I’m at my parents, as it’s the complete opposite to the city so I can just relax while I get back on my feet and figure out where I want to be – as soon as I know that, I’ll be out and trying my hardest to succeed again.”