Everybody wants to be happy, few know how. This book can change that.
(3 min read)
Tell me and I’ll probably forget. Show me and I might remember. Let me do it, and I’ll never forget. – Chinese proverb
This book will “tell you” all about happiness and through extensive research studies and stories “show you” life’s road map of happiness. But, and it’s a big but, only you can “do it” – by learning and practicing the art of happiness, rooted in science.
In our youth-obsessed, botoxed-crazy society, the idea of standing still long enough to assess whether or not you are happy seems like … well, something to be squeezed in late one night or on the weekend or better still, on vacation. Of course, it seldom gets to the top of the to-do list. But this book can help change that. Because if you are over thirty, it’s really important.
It’s never to early to get started
The road is long, the valley deep and the hill steep, and the sooner you understand the way ahead the better chance you have of filling your trip with the most happiness. With few exceptions, no matter where you come from, where you go, how much money, education and love you have, the happiness curve is basically the same. It only varies in timing and degree. It’s better to live in Denmark than the US and the US than Russia [Canada probably better than the US, less than Denmark), but in all these places the curve dips through midlife and then climbs again, at different rates, to different heights.
Jonathan Rauch has combed through the research – there’s lots – and has distilled it into a compelling narrative, replete with case studies and personal stories. The essence of our life’s tale weaves around the malaise of midlife, the time when the voices in your head have too many questions and too few answers. It’s the dreaded “midlife crisis.”
“Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research.” – Carl Jung
According to the research, even Carl Jung had it wrong. The bottom of the slump is in the mid-to-late forties and renewal begins around fifty. In fact, the forties are usually the most disruptive and a time when marriages and partnerships are at greatest risk. The “good, the bad and the ugly” all seem to converge during this time. Hell, even as far back as when Dante was writing about hell, middle life was … on the way to hell.
Midway upon the journey of our life / I found myself within a forest dark, / For the straightforward pathway had been lost. / Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say / What was this forest savage, rough, and stern, / Which in the very thought renews the fear. – Dante
As author Rauch says, in the fourteenth century Dante didn’t have the benefit of modern research, but he was no different than most of us today, experiencing the “forest dark” and fearful midway through life. The essence of this book is “about the dawn of a whole new stage of adult development which is already starting to reshape the way we think about retirement, education, and human potential.
“Hey, Thirty-Somethings” pay attention. And prepare yourself.”
This book should reshape how we think and prepare when we are still in our thirties. If we begin to understand it earlier in life, late twenties, certainly in our thirties, then we will be much better prepared to deal with the ups and downs, which are coming, like it or not. A midlife crisis – worse, two at the same time in the same partnership – can be somewhere between disruptive to destructive, and if you don’t understand the root causes, it can destroy a marriage or partnership.
A peek into your future
Who wouldn’t want to be happy. Who wouldn’t want to look into the future and learn more about being happy? The good thing about the “Life Satisfaction” curve (left) is after a high at age 30-34, and a nose-dive until 50-54, it climbs steeply up and hits a new peak at 65-69; and then has a slight drop-off over the next 10 years, but still, at 79-80, is as high as when you were 20-24.
Seeing life’s journey as a topographical map and knowing where the highs and lows are, gives us an opportunity to “flatten the curve.” Hell, with knowledge and practice we could increase the peaks and decrease the valleys.
This book provides a wealth of information that can help you plan your trip. And shared with your partner, together you might markedly change the course of your future. Granted, a lot of the elements in a midlife crisis are baked into our biological and psychological make up, but they can be affected. This book not only gives you an insightful heads up, it can give you a big head start.
“Every thinking adult should read this stimulating intellectual adventure story, which is also a genuinely helpful guidebook to life.”– Scott Stossel, National Editor, The Atlantic
Not to read this book while your in your thirties is to drive your fancy-ass, red sports car into the dark unknown of your forties – with no road map, no headlights on and your partner not wearing a seat belt. As in crazy – stupid.
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