Peeking inside the mind of the boy dating your daughter
One might think that gifted and accomplished people, such as the man on the plane, would be less susceptible than others to this sense of irrelevance; after all, accomplishment is a well-documented source of happiness.
If current accomplishment brings happiness, then shouldn’t the memory of that accomplishment provide some happiness as well? Though the literature on this question is sparse, giftedness and achievements early in life do not appear to provide an insurance policy against suffering later on.
As he walked up the aisle of the plane behind me, other passengers greeted him with veneration.
Standing at the door of the cockpit, the pilot stopped him and said, “Sir, I have admired you since I was a little boy.” The older man—apparently wishing for death just a few minutes earlier—beamed with pride at the recognition of his past glories.
“My Olympic self would ruin my marriage and leave my kids feeling inadequate,” she told me, because it is so demanding and hard-driving.But the data seem eerily consistent with my experience: My 40s and early 50s were not an especially happy period of my life, notwithstanding my professional fortunes.From December 2014: Jonathan Rauch on the real roots of midlife crisis So what can people expect after that, based on the data? Almost all studies of happiness over the life span show that, in wealthier countries, most people’s contentment starts to increase again in their 50s, until age 70 or so.In The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50, Jonathan Rauch, a Brookings Institution scholar and an Atlantic contributing editor, reviews the strong evidence suggesting that the happiness of most adults declines through their 30s and 40s, then bottoms out in their early 50s.Nothing about this pattern is set in stone, of course.