• Daniela Perone, Ph.D.

Crisis in your late 20s? There may be an explanation. And it may not be what you expect.

It seems inexplicable sometimes how this period of our late 20s can wreak so much havoc. Indeed, there is even the famed “27 club” which, if you’re unfamiliar, is a list of celebrities who have committed suicide, coincidently at age 27. Time and again, I encounter people who come to me, both personally and professionally, to tell me about the series of crises turning their lives upside down and these individuals are frequently between the ages of 27-30. It happened to several people I know personally and then, as I started specializing in working with those in their 20s and 30s, inevitability, it was popping into my office. I have known about this astrological phenomenon called Saturn Return, and wasn’t completely convinced of its merit until I’ve seen first hand, the sheer numbers of people affected.


So what is a Saturn Return anyway?


In astrology, a Saturn Return refers to Saturn completing its orbit around the sun and returning to the same astrological house (constellation) it was in at the time of a person’s birth. Saturn takes roughly 28-30 years to make it’s full orbit around the sun. In the world of astrology, this means that 28-30 years of age may correspond to major or minor upheavals in one’s life and a significant opportunity for personal growth. This is also the case for those around age 56-60, i.e., “the second return”.


Before writing this blog, I did some research on whether the notion of Saturn Return has any scientific basis. Unfortunately, I did not come up on much. That doesn’t mean it isn’t real. It may be that no one has bothered to research it. Perhaps no one will fund the research (who stands to gain from it anyway?). Perhaps research that has been done might not be in mainstream publications. We can speculate ad nauseam about the reasons for the lack of research.


Regardless if the astrological concept of Saturn Return has any basis in science or even reality, I appreciate the seemingly apt depiction of how tumultuous this period of development can be for many people. Saturn Return has and continues to speak to me as I encounter dozens of people between the ages of 28-30 who are struggling to make sense of a world and a life they thought they understood and had a grip on.


People I know, both in my personal as well as my professional life; friends, colleagues, clients, etc., share with me all the time about these upheavals that happen both internally and externally. If married, this is a time for divorce. It is a time for career changes. Starting a business. Moving to a new city. New parenthood. People make dramatic changes to reflect the changes they are experiencing inside. And for those who resist the changes that their deeper selves seem to be nudging them toward, life starts wreaking havoc. Accidents, loss of a job, long-term partner dumping you, getting sick, ending friendships, etc. You get the feeling your life is grinding to a halt. You have no choice left but to pivot. Either you pivot or life will make you pivot.


I started specializing in working with people in their 20s and 30s because over the course of my career, I just kept seeing this repeated pattern of clients coming in complaining about their lives suddenly turning into an unexpected “shit show”, pardon my tongue. So much of the work that was happening in my office was around making meaning of the experiences, discovering a depth to life that wasn’t previously perceived, and attuning to a deeper authentic longing that wasn’t previously acknowledged. The results were so fulfilling for me that in turn, it satisfied my own call from MY late 20s around transforming consciousness and helping souls find their awakened paths.


In fact, my “Saturn Return,” if we want to go head and call it that, for me, was so much around resolving my own limiting and confining beliefs about what I can and cannot do, should and should not do, how to embrace the “woo” side of things and still be taken seriously (or just hide it? Nope. Can’t do that…). It was a journey of being honest with myself and who I am authentically and having the guts to show it to the world in all its glory. So here I am. Talking about astrology on my professional psychotherapy blog… So this is me leading by example.


Honestly, I think I got off easy with mine. I’ve seen others suffer and struggle through so many difficult truths and experiences. The good news is, if you do the work and face the deeper feelings that these experiences are forcing you to face and allow it to move you, the other side of this could very well be an enriched life full of meaning, connection with others, authenticity, depth, and realness. You may also find yourself embracing hobbies, careers, interests that you never would have considered doing before. But that might not be a bad thing.


The thing that makes this phase of life so scary is the change. Of course, many or most of us feel squeamish around change. Even when the wiser parts of us know that it is, in fact, the only constant. Despite that, we feel the pulses of change and some feel it more intensely than others. I think what makes this particularly terrifying is that we feel our selves changing. Giving up who we think we are is probably the most chilling, terrifying change we could ever go through. But that’s just the sound of your ego dying. In exchange, we get a soulful life that will encompass all your deepest and wildest longings.

If you think you might be struggling with Saturn Return or if the crisis I described herein resonate with you, please reach out! I’d be happy to help! To quote one of my clients, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

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