Millennials, Can You Help Us Rebrand Midlife?

March 8, 2023

Millennials, Can You Help Us Rebrand Midlife?

May 29, 2023

As the Millennial generation tiptoes into midlife, I have some hope. Unlike past generations, which were more socially impacted by the tyranny of the linear, three-stage life—learn till your early 20s, earn till your early 60s, and adjourn till you die—Millennials and GenZ have popularized the idea of a quarter-life crisis.

Wikipedia defines this crisis as "a period of insecurity, doubt, and disappointment surrounding one's career, relationships, and financial situation." Duh, that's not a crisis exclusively owned by 25-year-olds. There's a lifetime guarantee of that crisis.

These younger generations have also been more willing to get off the treadmill earlier in their career—to take a sabbatical, change companies or industries, or explore a new spiritual path. Many Boomer friends consider these younger folks to be non-committal or idealistic. Yes, they are, and so were we when we were that age. But, lots of social science research shows that younger generations today are more willing to take the off-ramp exiting the "successism" superhighway much earlier in their lives. They’re not waiting til their 40s.

My current hero is my fellow Stanford alum Tyrell Terry, who was the NBAs 31st draft pick in 2020. In this Sports Illustrated cover story, "I Wasn't Really Doing It for Myself," the 22-year-old Terry talks about why he's giving up all of the money and fame of pro basketball just two years into his career. He wrote on Instagram, "While I have achieved amazing accomplishments, created unforgettable memories, and made lifelong friends… I've also experienced the darkest times of my life…To the point where instead of building me up, it began to destroy me. Where I began to despise and question the value of myself, much more than those surrounding me could ever see or know."

Wow, what a role model for investing in one's mental health. Because Tyrell is a self-professed "over-thinker," he's planning on going back to Stanford to major in philosophy. Maybe when he graduates, Terry can teach an MEA workshop on how to get your midlife crisis out of your system in your 20s.

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

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