Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Misery, dead ahead?

I came across this article this morning declaring: WHY THE LATE-30s ARE A MAN'S MISERY YEARS. Normally, I wouldn't give much thought to an article like this for it has undoubtedly distilled some larger point down into something mass consumable and something that will make for good copy. But for whatever reason, I keep coming back to this article today.

The article basically states that men ages 35-44 inevitably have a midlife crisis. Oversimplistic? Almost certainly. However, the staggering piece of information I take from this article is the following:
Researchers found that it takes men until they reach the age of 65 to start enjoying life as much as they did in their late-teens and early-20s.

Holy shit! 20 years is damn long time to be unhappy.

I guess I wouldn't have given it another thought save for my discontent these days. Heidi and I have been talking a lot and I feel like whatever we're doing right now, while safe and comfortable, is decidedly NOT living. It's being asleep. It's something, but it's not life. I feel like I have been hoodwinked by making all the "right" choices and doing the "smart" things. Truth is, I am never happier than when I am living life a little bit on the edge. Is it scary? You bet it is. But it is living.

This runs so much deeper than I can even begin to describe. Suffice to say I will NOT spend the next 20 years unhappy, waiting for retirement. What the fuck kind of life is that?


Anonymous said...

I feel i need to post on this one. I too have had feelings like this but for some reason i don't really get depressed..i get crabby and wife has no time for this and sends me to "therapy"..something usually terrably male..she even has a list..the next event on "therapy" is shooting machine guns..for being a Russian girl she sure has insight into the male soul..or more importantly..mine. What you feel is not that you are doing something wrong or right but that something is missing..what is missing is what my wife and I call "the fight". Current culture forces us away from what makes us men..challenge, endevor, risk, and experience. Dont think for a minute you can fight the hardwiring of 3 million years of evolution. Men in their nature lack apathy and are unhappy with status do you think civilization was built..As for you personally,I remember Dad talking to coach Evens one time and dad telling me about the story when they were talking about you...You were learning to jump rope and somewhat struggling. Dad said something to coach about you not really being a "natural" and coach Evens say "Yea, but don't under estemate his determination" THAT IS WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT!!! American society want men to be unopinionated "yes dear" men who make sure they work like crazy and whatever you do don't stop working cause you need that money to buy useless crap because that useless crap will make you happy...reject this golden is path to unhappyness and lack of fulfillment for a lifetime and here is another thing..what hurts you children more..watching their parents stuggle with a life of unhappyness or wareing know the answer cause we wore tons of them...
So here is the prescription..Find a task that is a small challenge..a small goal..create a plan and work to obtain this goal however trivial the endevor may seem to others it means something to you and remember the immortal words of Ricky Nelson,"you can't please everyone so you've got to please yourself"---Brother BC

genkiboy said...

creative spelling choices and ricky nelson quotes notwithstanding, your brother is spot on when he says: "What you feel is not that you are doing something wrong or right but that something is missing...what is missing is what my wife and I call 'the fight'." we feel more like men when something ratchets up our testosterone and gets us going.

as for the the original article, however, let's not lose sight of the fact that the average satisfaction level for men at their low point was 6.8 on a scale of 1 to 10, compared to 7.55 during their teenage years and 7.8 after retirement. this isn't much of a range, dan. being off *one point* on that scale hardly qualifies as being "unhappy." so...pull up your socks, danny boy, and do something nice for yourself, because you're worth it. ;)