Call us pedantic, but here at Clueless we’re a bunch of perfectionists. We like our beers cold and our Ginsters hot, our water parks big and our crazy-golf scores small. We also like to know why things are going wrong, and how we can stop them – which is why we got in touch with The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and quarter-life crisis expert Dr Oliver Robinson to see how modern day adulthood affects the QLC.
It turns out it all starts with life expectancy. Yep, living longer is actually a massive downer. The ONS gave us these stats:
As you can see, life has gotten a lot longer over the past 100 years. But how is that related to the QLC? Well, it all starts with the age adulthood begins. According to Dr Robinson, for most of the 20th century 21 was deemed the age adulthood started (so three extra years of sponging off your parents – nice). When combined with the average life expectancy of the period in question, it meant you started working and living independently later, and, as you were expected to die a lot earlier, you were working for a much shorter period of time (yay!).
Instead now we start adulthood at 18 (and some of us start our careers as early as 16, for example in apprenticeships) and work until around the age of 70 – that’s a lot more early mornings, traffic jams, and mind-numbing toil. Now consider the fact that most 18 year-olds don’t actually consider themselves adult until six or seven years later and you see the problem; being thrust into an uncomfortable position of independence at 18, a position which you don’t feel you’re ready for, and you’re likely to get stressed out – but looking ahead and seeing decades and decades of the same is just plain depressing.
And unfortunately, it isn’t going to get any better. With life expectancy in the UK rocketing, the forecast for future generations looks even bleaker – better keep a spare room in your future house, because there’s a fair chance that the kids will be moving back in…
If you fancy hearing more academic insights into your QLC then check out Dr Robinson’s Clueless guest post!