depressed worker

Why 25 is the New 50

depressed worker


When I turned 25 I remember feeling severely depressed that I hadn’t accomplished all of my goals and that my life wasn’t exactly how I had imagined it years prior as an eager university graduate. I felt like a failure, like my time to be successful had almost run out.

I thought I was alone in this, but apparently I was wrong. When finally opening up about my depression to other Millennial aged friends and colleagues, they said they had experienced some of the same feelings. At first I was excited to know that I wasn’t crazy, but then I thought about how insane I really was for believing that not being financially stable in a career I love by my mid-twenties meant that I was a failure.

I wondered what could have lead to this thinking and didn’t have to look past the current culture that has been created; the NOW culture where news is instantaneous and stories of millionaire and billionaire tech start ups gives the illusion of normalcy; a culture where impatience is a virtue and if you’re not up to date with the new social media trend or viral video then you’re not up to date.

I had to seriously look at myself, analyze where I was in my personal life and my career; then strategize where I wanted to be. I had to rid myself of the notion that 25 is the new middle age and push past the culture that engulfed my thoughts.

When I did this, I was able to focus on all that I had already accomplished. I told myself that although I still had a lot to do, I should be proud of what I had already done. My mind became clear and I let the culture motivate me instead of intimidate me. I knew how I would impact the world and set out on a mission to do just that.

Maybe 25 is the new 50 in this wild world. But my journey isn’t defined by age, it’s defined by impact. And I plan to continue impacting the world one day at a time.


Kern Carter is the author of “Thoughts of a Fractured Soul,” a modern tragedy of family, failed potential and the Millennial struggle with ambition, expectation, and the fight for independence. More from Kern at

Depressed employee photo via Shutterstock


  1. I’m curious as this is the second article I’ve seen that highlights “Millennial-quarter aged crisis”. As a fellow Milliennial, which goals are we missing out on? I don’t think many of us are fooled into thinking we’ll be the next Edison or Lance Armstrong.

    That aside, it’s important to have goals. I definitely believe that. My first goal as a kid was learning to play “Smells Like Team Spirit”, then “Dammit”, then “All Along the Watchtower”. Over the years, I have progressed, but I never set goals that were unreachable, either. Obviously, starting a career in HR is my number one priority. I am married, have travelled to lots of places, and have acquired lots of hobbies.
    I suppose perfecting a second language would be cool. I attempted Korean, but only became street-proficient. So, now I’ve shared my goals.

    What does everyone else think? What do you want to do by the time you’re 25-30-35-40-45-50-60? Should we be making a roadmap or a bucketlist? I don’t know.

    Kern, you make a great point, information is readily available and we do see new inventors and entrepreneurs popping up everywhere with marvelous new ideas, but only because people are plugged in 24/7 and so can’t help but see what everyone else is doing.

    I was watching “The Girl On the Milk Carton” yesterday with my wife and in one scene I couldn’t believe what the children were doing. Playing cards! No Tv, no Ipod, not even a boom box. That’s something I lament about our generation, not appreciating little things. Does anyone remember playing Go Fish? What about Guess Who?. Not that we should be playing these at 20,30,40, but as an example, it shows that people can be happy unplugged and don’t have to pursue a goal to be happy. People these days are hooked on “Bejeweled” and your scores are measured against your peers. Is there any wonder that there’s quarter-age hysteria! It’s a constant race to get better and better at something completely artificial. Although, Bejewled Expert would be a cool resume title.

    I think we should pursue goals, but don’t worry about what it means to others, worry about what it means to you.

  2. Paul you ask some great questions. And let me start by saying I do not or have never played Bejeweled :). That said, as a Millennial I have to admit that we are always plugged in, myself included, almost to a fault. But I strongly believe that the world balances itself out, and as social media continues to progress, more and more people will seek solace in being unplugged, if not for sanity sake, then simply to enjoy the simple things you mention in your post. But my piece was to show that we battle with ambition differently than any other generation because we do so publicly. Social media has made it so “normal” people like you and me, who aren’t known celebrities, have a voice and use that voice to communicate through innumerable social streams. We want more for ourselves, just as the baby boomers and gen x wanted more. The only difference is the advent of the internet so now that wanting for more is always in your face.

    That being said, I am 100% in agreement with your final comment. Our goals should be our own, not compared to anyone else. Appreciate you reading my article.

  3. When I read this post I have the district feeling the author has the same problem the rest of us have. he compares himself to others. I know, I have the same problem, I do it all the time. It’s awful. And it’s not something that goes away all that easily. More like it’s a curse. The funny thing is, everyone does it. Young, old, rich, middle-class, professional, blue collar. While I’m comparing myself to someone else, that person is comparing themselves to me. It becomes a zero sum game. It’s tough seeing someone create a tech startup, get billions in venture capital, and within months or a few years they’re are the newest billionaire while you are toiling away. But then again, I’d be comparing. I don’t have the great answer in the sky, but I am aware of the issue. I need to set my own standards and my own bar and figure what makes me happy. What someone else does, that’s their business, I can only take care of me. Or so I think. Thanks for Listening.

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