Middle Age Depression- I Am Not Satisified

It was still dark outside when my alarm went off. I grumbled, hit snooze and unsuccessfully tried to return to the dream in which I still had six pack abs, a fast car and a girlfriend who didn’t let me sleep.

That guy didn’t get up before 6 A.M. because he was just getting home. And if by chance he was home and awake then it was probably because he was preparing to go fishing or on some other vacation.

He didn’t groan when he woke up because his back hurt or he had a kink in his neck. But then again he didn’t live in a house, have real furniture or a full refrigerator. And he probably wouldn’t have paid any attention to this article:

Middle age is truly depressing, says study

A global study on happiness shows middle age is truly miserable, although an Australian researcher says this is not necessarily so.

A study using data from around 80 countries has found happiness is greatest in youth and old age with depression being most common among men and women in their forties

“In a remarkably regular way throughout the world people slide down a U-shaped level of happiness and mental health throughout their lives,” says researcher Professor Andrew Oswald at Warwick University in the UK.

“Some people suffer more than others but in our data the average effect is large.”

The study is published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.

Let me clarify a few things. I am pushing 40, but still have a while to get there. On the whole I have excellent genes. My grandparents are about to turn 94. My great-grandmothers lived into their nineties and I feel young. So by my unscientific approach I figure that it is going to take another ten years before I am really middle aged.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling restless. My life is good, but it is not what I want it to be. There is so much to be done, so many goals, so many objectives that haven’t been met.

1. Ben Zoma said: Who is wise? He who learns from all men, as it is written (Psalm 119:99) “I have gained understanding from all my teachers.” Who is mighty? He who subdues his passions, as it is written (Proverbs 16:32) “One who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and one whose temper is controlled than one who captures a city.”

Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion, as it is written (Psalm 128:2) “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.”

I have always appreciated that. The sentiment of being content with what you have is sensible, reasonable, rational even. But, I am a man of serious passion. The fire burns inside me. It always has and I cannot foresee a time when it does not.

In truth I am not all troubled by my inability to rest. The drive is part of what enables me to withstand the hard times. There are days that I just put my head down and trudge on through the muck.

Even with a good attitude there are some things that are harder to accept. The thinning hair isn’t something that makes me jump for joy. It is not horrible, but it is not great. The new aches and pains aren’t particularly welcome. They aren’t friends of mine. They’re like rockstar groupies. I don’t really want them to hang around but they come with the territory.

Later tonight I plan to sit down and review the list of things that I want to accomplish. It is time to take a look at my roadmap and see if I am going in the right direction. Am I doing the things that I need to do to make my dreams come true or am I just treading water.

I know what I need and what I want. One way or another….

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  1. Batya February 3, 2008 at 5:55 am

    You’re kids.

    I found 40 a horror and liked 50, as 60 approaches, I look forward to the discounts.

  2. mother in israel February 1, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Therapy Doc recently posted the opposite, that older people are happier presumably because they learn how to handle upsets better.

  3. Jack February 1, 2008 at 4:06 am


    Long time no see. You’re turning into an old man like the rest of us. 😉

  4. Zeruel January 31, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    I am heading 30 and i never even had a girlfriend *sob*

    Other than that i’m looking forward to another decade of the same drab.

  5. Jack January 31, 2008 at 7:10 am


    Here is a beer right back atcha.

    I think the thing that gets depressing to me is thinking about the old roads not taken and realizing that it really is too late to start down some of them if I wanted to.

    That is what I wonder about. I really shouldn’t but it is hard not to.

    Okay–now I have to read the penis stories….

    That should do wonder for the search terms on my blog. 😉

  6. Gila January 31, 2008 at 5:59 am

    As someone who has felt this angst for years and years…. Every year, at Rosh Hashana, I write up a list of what I want to accomplish. Every week, I sit down, write in my journal and at the same time, go through each of my annual goals and ask myself what I am doing about it.

    I suppose I like the idea of not wasting quite so much time. Of being focused.

    And to Susanne–some roads you may be too old for, but probably fewer than you think. In many cases, if you want something badly enough, you will find a way to do it.

    Okay–now I have to read the penis stories….


  7. Susanne January 31, 2008 at 2:05 am

    I hit 40 this year. And while things are going very well in my life, I certainly have been thinking about what I want for the future, and where I’ve been in the past.

    Physically, I feel good. I too come from a family where people, especially the women, live to quite ripe old ages. I had a great aunt who lived to be 102. She was in her own home until the end, still doing her own shopping and cooking. My grandmother is 93 and still sharp mentally and physically.

    I do notice I get tired now when I used to just be able to go go go. Most nights I’m ready to be asleep by 10:00.

    I used to be able to go out every night when I first moved to New York, stay out until 3:00 and get to work just fine, if hungover.

    No way I could do that now.

    I think the thing that gets depressing to me is thinking about the old roads not taken and realizing that it really is too late to start down some of them if I wanted to.


  8. -suitepotato- January 31, 2008 at 12:26 am

    You’re not alone Jack. I too am pushing forty. However, I didn’t have that much of a childhood between largely being raised by my grandparents and myself, and myself only having theoretical examples told to me by adults and in encyclopedias.

    If one can have a mental age, I’m way way way past one hundred. Body is still under forty though. It hurts when getting up too, especially when I’d rather get back to whatever dream I’d had because any dream is better than none. I’ve done years without dreaming. It’s not healthy.

    Anyhow, this old man in a not as old body feels your angst and raises a beer to you. Thanks for the side-splitting imagery in the daughter-talks-about-missing-penis stories. I got a coworker who calls his kids when he works late to tell them stories and they make some absurd and bizarre requests. Maybe some day my wife and I will be blessed.

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