Peak Misery

The thing is, I don’t feel miserable.

But according to Dartmouth College’s Professor David Blanchflower, his research reveals that “47.2 years old is the moment of peak unhappiness in the developed world.”

I look at this one of two ways. Either (a) I’m terribly unhappy but blissfully ignorant of it or (b) my peak unhappiness isn’t all that bad so the next 10, 20, or 30 years could be really fantastic.

For the record. I’m currently 46.5 years old as of the posting of this Blog entry you’re reading. I won’t actually be 47.2 years old until mid-September of 2020. That’s 9 months from now. I’m going to stress about it from now until then, but by the end of September, I’ll be much happier knowing I’m ascending from the depths of my misery.

I get it. It would be easy to dwell on the fact I make a good income, but never have money, that if I think back on all my teenage and 20something dreams (be a TV or movie writer or famous stand-up comic, or published author, or be featured in a 20 Under 20 or 30 Under 30 article about young go-getters destined for amazing things), those are less likely to come true. That my body is a little weaker, slower, and sicker every day, month and year. At 47.2, I’ll watch my oldest child get accepted to college and part of my brain will think about how much I’m going to miss her when she heads off to college. My hair’s a little thinner than it’s ever been. If I eat junk food, I suffer like I have a hangover. If I drink too much, my hangover can last 2 or 3 days. People older than me are dying. People my own age are dying. We have a terrible person as President… I mean a foul, loathsome human being who speaks primarily in pronouns and adverbs, and yet people cheer wildly for him at rallies and apologize for how vile he is, so that means alotta people that drive through the same busy intersections I drive through are out there just being angry and hating me without knowing me.

See? I could be miserable. But if this is as bad as it gets, and nothing I just mentioned bothers me much, and I’m optimistic that if I take care of myself and get lucky, I have 10, 20, or 30 year’s to keep doing great, fun things, learning things, enjoying my high-schoolers while they’re high-schoolers and then cheering them on as they become adults and live out their own amazing lives and adventures. I enjoy the challenges of my job and when there are good days, they’re really good days. I’m healthier and weigh less than I have in 20 years. My wife still loves me (5 out of 7 days a week, and that’s OK with me).

There’s some comfort in knowing when you’re at your worst, because when you reflect back and get nostalgic for the good old days and you and I remember how GREAT they were, we can use math to determine the next 20 or 30 year’s could be as good as the last 20 or 30.

And I like those numbers. Here’s to knowing this year will be my worst year, ever!

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