For most people it will be arround twenty five years of age (give or take a year or two) as this tends to be when you're way of thinking is starting to change beyond that of a high school or college student. Most people realise they've reached this age if they talk to teens online and realise their way of thinking/talking/interacting etc is considerably diffrent and/or they're starting to refer to teens as 'kids'.
It's an age where a lot people start developing a more realistic outlook in life and start feeling that if they haven't accomplished certain things in life they thought they would by then that they may never (Even though this isn't true and they still have a long time to attain their goals and dreams).
This tends to be the age where regets about decitions made in High School, College etc start becomming more appart. The classes one didn't take, or could have tried harder in, the teams one didn't try out for, and wished they had and so forth can sometimes cause a lot of regret and even resentment of those that are doing things one wishes they'd done.
Some people will respond to a quarter life crisis by rushing into various landmark type goals in life (ie, getting married, moving out from your parents house, getting your first house, getting your first real job, having kids).
This could be because their friends have accomplished one or more of these things and they're worried their falling behind them.
It may also be because they're afraid that if they don't accomplish these things by the time their 28 or so, they may never.
Others respond to it by growing depressed and blamming others for their pervieved failures in life.
People tend to move beyond this life crisis when they realise that, a lot of people feel the same way and/or are in the exact same position, so they have plently of company (misery loves company) and/or start to realise that perhaps some of their hopes and dreams were a tad bit unrealistic and that they're just getting a reality check. Once one realises that life hasen't neccessarily let them down and that their hopes and dreams were just that, hopes and dreams, but the reality has simply granted them a more down to Earth/realistic life, they'll accept it and hopefully be happy for what they have and stop lamenting over what they never could realistically have achieved in life.
Person2: Sorry, I'm just kinda depressed. I'm 26 years old yet I feel like I should have been way more then I am by now.
Person1: I hear ya man, welcome to your quarter life crisis.
a) You've done nothing constructive with it
- AND -
b) You've set yourself up for another quarter just like it.
You may be experiencing a quarter life crisis if :
a) You ever ask yourself what the h*** you are doing with your life
b) You regret half of the last 10 years
c) You consider changing jobs/homes/partners/all of the above to somehow improve your life
d) You feel lost and confused 23.5 hours out of a 24 hour day
e) You wonder how you will ever find job security/afford a house at today's prices/find a partner if you're working all the time/get out of your parents' house if your debt is costing you every dime you make/afford rent while it keeps going up/find a job that pays the bills/pay off your debt/all of the above. Usually all of the above.
Often confused by kids with adolesence, puberty, or hormonal problems. Feeling "misunderstood" and dressing all in black is not a quarter life crisis - it is being a teenager.
Basically, you wake up one morning and think to yourself, "Man - I'm totally screwed." You then proceed to consolidate your debt, look for a better job, and spend more time sleeping - because when you're asleep, you don't have to worry about how screwed you are.
Refers to the numerous personal crises brought on by entering adulthood and being expected to become a responsible, productive member of society. Characterized by first gray hairs/wrinkles, excessive drinking, hanging out with people who are younger in order to feel younger again only to end up looking creepy, extreme fear of all of these things.
You can buy yourself some time to regroup by getting a McJob.
So you are left to figure out much of it on your own. Most of the areas of your life you will be confused about are dating, career, finances, finding a place to live, and friends. This is more than likely going to be the worst time in your life.
*THIS IS NOT A JOKE* This will make the on-going, never ending, day to day, living hell that was high school or middle school seem as easy as breathing. You will more than likely wish you were still in high school, middle school, or 10 years old back in elementary school...just so that you'd be sheltered from and never have to know the never-ending mental turmoil you are going through.
A) Those dreams of happiness that sustained them through high school and college will always remain fantasy no matter how much they earn OR
B) Their job at the local McDonalds isn't proving a satisfying career choice and maybe they shouldn't have slept through remedial maths.
Either way, common symptoms include a renewed passion for the pop music of their youth, dusting off the skateboard and considering "going pro", and the dating of underage skanks from the local high school to prove they still got it.