Self Help

Midlife - Setiya, Kieran;

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Matheus Puppe

· 25 min read

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  • The term “midlife crisis” was coined in 1965 by psychoanalyst Elliott Jaques in an essay titled “Death and the Mid-Life Crisis”.

  • Jaques quotes a patient in his mid-thirties who describes reaching the crest of the hill in life and now seeing the downward slope ahead with the end of the road and death in sight.

  • Contemporary models of the midlife crisis include characters like Lester Burnham from American Beauty who quits his job, buys a fast car, and lusts after a younger woman.

  • Earlier models include the protagonist of the 1965 novel Stoner by John Williams, who at age 42 feels he can see nothing good ahead and little worth remembering behind.

  • The absurd man in Albert Camus’ 1942 book The Myth of Sisyphus experiences an existential crisis not when he is old but specifically when he turns 30 and recognizes his mortality and placement in time moving inexorably toward death.

  • The midlife crisis was defined and popularized in the 1960s but experiences existential questioning of one’s life and mortality at midlife is not a new phenomenon and can be seen in earlier works of literature from the 1940s and 1960s.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

  • The passage discusses the origins and rise of the idea of the “midlife crisis.” It traces references to midlife struggles in ancient texts, but argues the concept itself was “born” in 1965.

  • Two influential studies in the 1970s by Daniel Levinson and Roger Gould explored midlife transitions through interviews. However, Gail Sheehy’s bestselling 1976 book “Passages” is credited with popularizing the term “midlife crisis” and establishing stereotypical narratives around it.

  • By the 1980s, the idea of the midlife crisis had firmly taken hold in popular culture. There was widespread belief that it was a near-universal experience, although empirical evidence was still limited.

  • In 1989, the MacArthur Foundation launched a major research initiative called MIDUS to conduct more systematic study on midlife development, challenging the existing consensus to some extent.

  • In summary, the passage outlines the relatively recent origins and popularization of the concept of the “midlife crisis” in the late 20th century, despite some earlier references, questioning how much it reflects objective realities versus a socially constructed narrative.

Here is a summary of the key points about MIDUS:

  • MIDUS was a major survey conducted in 1995 of over 7,000 people aged 25-74. It involved an extensive phone interview and questionnaire with over 1,100 items.

  • The results from MIDUS challenged the prevailing view of midlife crisis being widespread and dramatic. It found that overall health and well-being tended to be stable or improve with age into midlife and beyond.

  • Follow up studies confirmed MIDUS findings. For example, only 26% reported having a midlife crisis, and this definition was applied very loosely. Analysis showed midlife was often a time of competence and growth, not uncertainty.

  • As a result, the concept of a universal midlife crisis declined in social science by the 2000s. It came to be seen more as a popular myth than a proven psychological reality. However, the core idea was not entirely dismissed.

So in summary, the MIDUS study significantly changed views by finding midlife was generally positive and stable for most people, casting doubt on ideas of a widespread midlife crisis. This led social science to become more skeptical of the concept.

  • Studies have found that rates of depression and anxiety peak around age 45, with middle-aged adults having roughly 3-4 times the risk of mental health issues compared to teenagers and older adults. This helps support the idea of a “midlife crisis” experience.

  • Researcher Hannes Schwandt proposed a model where midlife dissatisfaction is driven by unmet aspirations and high expectations for the future that are not realized. People underestimate how satisfied they will be in old age. This resonance with prior theories of the midlife experience.

  • However, some research has failed to replicate findings of a midlife dip in life satisfaction. One study found that meaning in life actually increases steadily with age. So the existence and significance of a “midlife crisis” is still controversial.

  • The author notes that while many disciplines have studied midlife, philosophy has been relatively absent from the discussion despite addressing broader questions of well-being, values, and the good life. The author aims to provide a philosophical perspective on midlife issues through a philosophical examination of their own midlife experiences.

  • The goal is to help reconcile people with common midlife pathologies using philosophical insights, as philosophers have knowledge that could illuminate issues like regrets, lost opportunities, mortality, and managing life activities and aspirations.

  • John Stuart Mill had a nervous breakdown at age 20, which he described and analyzed in his autobiography in an attempt to understand it and draw lessons for moral philosophy.

  • His upbringing under his father James Mill, a follower of utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, was extraordinarily strict and designed to mold John Stuart into an intellectual prodigy. He was deprived of a normal childhood and interactions with other children.

  • In his autobiography, Mill described falling into a state of depression where he felt indifferent to all his goals and ambitions being achieved. He couldn’t understand why realizing his deepest desires wouldn’t bring happiness.

  • Mill identified two reversals in his thinking that helped him recover. First, he realized that pursuing happiness directly as the end goal wouldn’t lead to it, but that focusing on other goals, like helping others, could lead to happiness indirectly.

  • This insight reflected an 18th century idea called the “paradox of egoism” - that exclusively pursuing one’s own happiness precludes actually achieving it, and that caring about other things is necessary for happiness.

  • So in analyzing his crisis, Mill was drawing on philosophical ideas to understand its causes and lessons for how to pursue well-being and a meaningful life. While an unusual case, his insights were intended to have broad applicability.

  • Mill argues that in order to be happy, you need to care about things other than just yourself. Your well-being and happiness shouldn’t be your sole focus.

  • When you care about things like philosophy, particular people, hobbies like baseball, your flourishing is tied up in the flourishing of those other things as well. This provides sources of both happiness and vulnerability.

  • Mill calls this the “paradox of egoism” - that pursuing happiness solely for your own sake will not make you happy in the long run. You need to care about others and outside interests.

  • Mill suffered a mental breakdown even though he did care deeply about reforming society for the benefit of others. This suggests the “paradox of altruism” - if life’s only value is how it impacts others, then nothing ultimately has value or purpose.

  • In recovering, Mill came to see the importance of individual self-cultivation through art, literature and aesthetics for well-being and happiness. Appreciating beauty in works like Wordsworth’s poetry provided fulfillment that was missing from his singular focus on social reform.

  • In summary, both extreme egoism and extreme altruism that neglect internal culture and appreciation of beauty can leave one unfulfilled, as Mill came to realize through his own crisis experience. A balanced approach to different sources of value is likely better for well-being and preventing a midlife crisis.

Mill found solace in Wordsworth’s poetry after suffering a mental breakdown. He saw in Wordsworth’s work a depiction of finding joy and meaning through simple contemplation of nature, rather than through struggle and social reform.

Aristotle also emphasized the value of contemplation over practical action and virtue. Practical pursuits are “unleisurely” and aimed at addressing problems like injustice, while contemplation is leisurely and pursued for its own sake.

Both Aristotle and Mill saw a limitation in a life focused solely on practical amelioration of problems. If all struggles ceased, what would give life meaning? Contemplation offers intrinsic, positive value rather than just responding to negatives.

Modern lives can lack this positive purpose and value, consumed by demands of work, family, finances. Quoting Schopenhauer, the author questions what would occupy us if all needs were instantly met. Contemplation provides an alternative that is worth pursuing for its own sake, not just to prevent harm. This insight from Aristotle and Mill helps address midlife crisis by offering a reminder of life’s potential intrinsic joys.

Crises of this kind come about gradually as demands on one’s time and energy rise and fall. During periods of high demand, leisure time is limited, but the crisis may emerge when demands recede, like when children grow up. This describes one type of midlife crisis.

It stems from the necessary but “ameliorative” work of one’s life, focused on preventing harm, rather than activities with “existential value” that make life intrinsically worthwhile. Philosophers lack a term for this distinction.

To avoid a crisis, one must make room for existential activities in work, relationships and leisure. These can range from contemplation to hobbies and bring joy apart from life’s struggles. While necessary work is important, existential pursuits allow participation in an “ideal life” akin to the immortal gods.

However, existential value should not always come before practical obligations. When demands are pressing, think of mortal concerns, but make yourself “immortal” through such activities sometimes to maintain perspective on life’s meaning. Wordsworth had an ongoing crisis, never recovering his youthful creativity, nostalgic for freedoms lost to society’s constraints.

  • The author felt he missed out on opportunities to pursue poetry or medicine, instead pursuing philosophy. While he doesn’t regret his decision, he still feels a sense of loss for paths not taken.

  • Philosophy can help us understand and come to terms with this feeling of missing out. It distinguishes decisions where we feel loss (incommensurable values) from those where we don’t (commensurable values).

  • Decisions involving means to ends, like money, often involve commensurable values where more of one option compensates for less of another. But choices between final values like friendship, knowledge, careers can involve incommensurable values where we feel the loss of the unchosen option.

  • The author argues that simply describing choices involving missing out as involving incommensurable values doesn’t necessarily make us feel better. The next chapter will explore a different philosophical way to view our situation and missed opportunities.

  • The essay discusses the idea of “missing out” or feeling a sense of loss from not being able to do or experience everything we want in life. This is an inevitable consequence of the diversity of human values and interests - there are simply too many good things to fully experience them all.

  • To avoid missing out entirely would require commodifying or reducing all values to a single metric, which would impoverish human experience. We value variety and differentiation in life.

  • While regretting loss is natural, we cannot truly wish for a life without any missing out or unfulfilled desires. That would require narrowing our capacities and interests in an undesireable way.

  • The sense of loss from missing out reflects the richness of life’s possibilities. It is something to accept rather than try to wish away.

  • The essay then discusses how this analysis does not fully explain nostalgia for lost youth. It explores how aging symbolizes the diminishment of vitality, energy and future prospects over time.

  • It puzzles over why people may value having unexercised options or unpursued possibilities, as exemplified by a character who preserves options he will not use. Maintaining this sense of open-ended potential seems paradoxical.

In summary, the essay analyzes why a sense of “missing out” is an inevitable aspect of human experience given the diversity of life’s values, and how we should view this feeling of loss. It also examines nostalgia for lost youth and people’s relationship with unpursued possibilities.

  • The passage discusses why it is more psychologically difficult to face missing out or making compromises on desired life paths at midlife compared to when those paths were just potential futures when younger.

  • A major reason is that younger selves do not yet know precisely which ambitions or opportunities will be compromised or lost out on when making life decisions. Only later does one confront the specific unsatisfied desires and know what will not be achieved.

  • Experiments show people find decision-making unpleasant because it involves acknowledging trade-offs and losses. Prospectively facing these losses when deliberating as a young adult still elicits some discontent.

  • Nostalgia for youth fantasizes a time before such hard choices had to be made and losses weren’t epistemically confronted. However, this overlooks that youth also entails not knowing what one will achieve in life.

  • In the end, the nostalgic longing to not know one’s compromises or missed opportunities is somewhat perverse, as it would be better met by retrograde amnesia rather than recapturing youth.

  • The passage discusses how to feel about mistakes, misfortunes, and failures from one’s past as they approach midlife. It acknowledges the temptation to simply wish such events had never occurred.

  • However, it argues there is a distinction between acknowledging mistakes versus outright regretting them. Not all past decisions lead to regret when considering how one’s life has turned out overall.

  • Some potential strategies for dealing with the past are presented, starting with more straightforward ones and building to more complex philosophical perspectives.

  • The first strategy discussed is viewing past mistakes as temporary conditions, rather than permanent labels. Even decisions that seem clearly wrong at the time may turn out better than expected.

  • Additional tactics explored later include reframing past events in light of present experiences, acknowledging life’s unpredictability, and finding meaning even in suffering and loss.

  • The overall aim is to help shift one’s perspective on the past in a way that allows accepting what cannot be changed, without outright regretting previous choices and circumstances beyond one’s control.

The passage describes how intensely boring activities like completing tax returns or watching televised golf can become almost unbearably tedious. However, it says that riding out these waves of boredom eventually leads to a feeling of constant bliss and stepping into a state of color after black and white.

It uses this experience as a metaphor for how an accountant’s seemingly dreary work of auditing and filing can transform into endless joy through finding meaning and pleasure in it. Even though the tasks are repetitive, focusing on them fully allows one to attain a state of profound satisfaction.

It then discusses how having things turn out better than expected is a simple way not to regret mistakes. The key is accepting that unexpected good can come from decisions one did not fully understand at the time. Most people can point to events in their lives that followed this pattern.

It argues one should not rely too heavily on luck or unexpected positives when making decisions, as one does not truly control outcomes. But embracing unexpected good can help cope with regret over past choices to some degree.

The most significant limitation is this only applies to events directly leading to the existence of one’s children. But it is meant to offer some perspective for reconciling with mistakes when full redemption may not be possible. Finding meaning in life choices and their consequences can lessen regret, even without surprising benefits.

  • Virginia Woolf wondered if relationships could make up for regret over life decisions, just as having children can justify not regretting choices that limited one’s career.

  • Robert Adams argued that we can rationally affirm our actual lives, even if we acknowledge they are not optimal, because we are attached to our projects, relationships, and personal history in the same way we are attached to our own existence.

  • However, this seems irrational - it suggests preferring what we think is worse. Our preferences and assessments of better vs. worse options should align.

  • Satisficing provides a way to settle for good enough options rather than optimal ones, but it does not explain actively preferring something we think is suboptimal.

  • For having children, the existence of the child, with their irreplaceable human dignity, provides justification. But mere activities, artifacts or projects do not have the same dignity or irreplaceability.

  • In the end, the source of Adams’ insight about rationally affirming our lives remains obscure. While relationships may be trickier than other personal attachments due to their complexity, it is still difficult to see how one can rationally prefer what they think is a worse choice.

  • The passage discusses the idea of retroactively wishing you had taken a different path in life, such as pursuing a relationship you passed up or choosing a different career. However, it notes that wishing for an alternative is essentially taking a risky gamble that may not have turned out better.

  • It uses the example of someone (Nat) choosing between a career in music or law. Music had a higher potential reward but more risk of failure, while law was a safer option. Nat chose law and is now content, so regretting that choice would essentially mean gambling her current satisfactory life.

  • Even if an alternative path really was better, it’s rational to be risk-averse and prefer one’s actual life outcomes when they turned out fine, rather than fantasizing about how another choice might have played out.

  • However, the passage also acknowledges there are limits to this risk-aversion perspective. It may not apply if the alternative truly had little risk or high potential.

  • In the end, it argues we should focus on actively affirming and appreciating our lives as they are, rather than dwelling on alternate histories we can’t change or predict. Ignorance of alternatives can protect happiness, while knowledge of life’s goodness amplifies its impact.

Here is a one paragraph summary:

This passage discusses different philosophical perspectives on confronting one’s mortality in midlife. It analyzes Simone de Beauvoir’s sense of dissatisfaction upon reflecting on her life despite keeping all her promises, and connects this to an existentialist view that human lives merely exist rather than achieve being. It then introduces Epicurus’ idea that philosophy should console us in death by arguing death is nothing to us since when it comes we no longer exist, as well as Montaigne’s unsuccessful attempts to philosophize about death through self-examination in his Essays. Overall, the paragraph sets up a discussion of philosophically wrestling with death and mortality in midlife.

  • Epicurus argued that death should not be feared because when we exist, death is not present, and when death is present, we no longer exist. Therefore death does not concern us.

  • However, some argue this is an inadequate position because death deprives us of all the good things in life like art, knowledge, time with friends. So death is still rationally dread and avoids.

  • Lucretius provided a metaphor comparing the time after death to pre-birth nonexistence, which doesn’t cause fear. This “mirror” argument aimed to reshape attitudes towards death.

  • However, the argument of symmetry between pre-birth and post-death nonexistence doesn’t fully explain why we respond so differently to them. There is an asymmetric longing for indefinite life extension forward but not backward.

  • The Lucretius argument provides a respectable but precarious therapy for the fear of death based on assuming no relevant contrast between pre-birth and post-death experiences. But this assumption is questionable and Derek Parfit later identified an undeniable contrast - one is in the past while the other is in the future.

Parfit argues that our aversion to death and desire for life is future-biased - we care more about future pains and pleasures than past ones. However, he says we should aim for “temporal neutrality” and give equal weight to past and future experiences. This would make death seem more symmetrical with pre-natal nonexistence.

Parfit illustrates this with a thought experiment about a past or future surgery. Most people hope they had the surgery in the past rather than face it in the future, showing future bias. But future bias leads to strange conclusions, like regretting decisions we know we will make.

The rationality of future bias is debated. On the one hand, common reactions seem rational, but on the other hand future bias can lead to irrational decisions. Parfit thinks temporal neutrality mitigates fear of death by making it symmetrical with life before birth. However, the author acknowledges finding it hard to fully adopt this view and remain future-biased instead.

Some philosophers argue eternal life would be miserable through boredom or alienation. But the author says intensely desiring immortality is disproportionate and resembles avarice, since lacking superhuman traits is not something to resent or grieve. Ultimately, consolation has its limits as other sources of fearing death, like self-preservation, are harder to temper.

  • The passage discusses how confronting mortality often begins with the death of a loved one like a parent or friend. For many people, it is when they experience personal loss that the reality of death hits home.

  • It talks about how there are two reactions to the death of someone we love - wanting what’s best for their well-being, but also having a primitive desire for their continued existence and not wanting to let them go. Love involves both caring about their welfare and perceiving their inherent value and irreplaceability.

  • When we experience the death of loved ones, it gives us a glimpse of what our own mortality will mean. However, philosophers tend to think about death abstractly from a first-person perspective rather than through the lens of loss.

  • Experiencing bereavement can help us accept death by reminding us of humanity’s finite scale and helping us learn to let go, even of ourselves eventually. However, it does not fully address the sense of intrinsic value we have for our own lives.

  • The passage wrestles with how to find peace with mortality and whether philosophy can truly eliminate the fear of death, ultimately concluding there is no perfect solution but some approaches may help more than others for different individuals.

The author has done something they believe was worth doing, but must now say goodbye to a project that has meant a lot to them. This leaves a hole in their life that will likely be filled by new projects and achievements, as has been the pattern throughout their career and personal life milestones.

However, they note a sense of repetition, futility, and emptiness that comes with pursuing and completing goals, projects and achievements. No matter how worthwhile the individual endeavors, there is a restless feeling of what’s next and a questioning of what it all means. This echoes a midlife crisis of striving for what seems worthwhile yet feeling unfulfilled.

The author draws on Schopenhauer’s philosophy of desire and will. Schopenhauer argued life oscillates painfully between suffering from unfulfilled desires and emptiness/boredom without desires. The author acknowledges some truth in this - by pursuing goals just to complete them, our engagement with value is self-destructive as we aim to eliminate what gives purpose to our lives.

The solution proposed is to adopt a new relationship with goals and activities through “neo-logism” - focusing less on telic activities that aim at completion/an end state, and more on non-telic activities appreciated for their own sake in the present moment. This could help address the sense of repetition, futility and emptiness that comes from a life structured around pursuing and finishing goals.

  • Activities can be categorized as either “telic” or “atelic”. Telic activities aim at a final point or goal, like writing a book or getting married. These activities can be completed or exhausted once the goal is achieved.

  • Atelic activities do not have a defined end point or goal. They can continue indefinitely without being completed, like going for a walk, listening to music, or spending time with friends. Their value is not in achieving some final outcome.

  • Aristotle also made this distinction, with some actions being “incomplete” like learning, while others can be ongoing like seeing or thinking.

  • Focusing only on telic activities and goals can be self-defeating, as achieving the goal means the end of that meaningful activity. This fuels feelings of emptiness and a “midlife crisis” when goals are achieved or fade in importance.

  • Alternatives are needed to the view that meaningful projects and goals are the only sources of motivation and purpose. Atelic activities have value too and don’t have the same risk of self-defeat upon completion. Simply enjoying the present moment can be a worthwhile way to live.

So in summary, the key idea is that while some goals and projects are meaningful, making them the sole focus risks emptiness, so non-goal oriented present-focused activities should also be part of a fulfilling life.

  • The narrative focuses on shifting from a view that values telic (goal-oriented) activities to one that also values atelic (non-goal) activities. Telic activities are directed towards some future endpoint, while atelic activities are valuable in and of themselves in the present moment.

  • Atelic activities like philosophy, parenting, cooking, etc. are fully realized in the present moment rather than being directed towards some future completion. They are inexhaustible and provide meaning through ongoing engagement rather than achievement of discrete goals.

  • Making this shift involves finding value and meaning in the process of activities rather than just their outcomes or projects. It means living more fully in the present moment rather than being directed by future plans and goals.

  • Mindfulness meditation from Buddhist philosophy is discussed as a way to cultivate appreciation for atelic activities and living in the present. However, some specific aspects of Buddhist diagnosis of human suffering are not fully accepted.

  • Overall it encourages focusing more on non-goal oriented activities and experiences that are fulfilling in themselves moment-to-moment, as an alternative to always being driven by future-oriented projects and ambitions. This can help combat a sense of emptiness or meaninglessness that arises from completing goals.

  • The passage discusses the Buddhist concept of “no-self” (anattā), which holds that there is no enduring or permanent self or soul. According to Buddhism, the root cause of suffering is the deluded belief that there is a self.

  • Meditation is distinguished into samatha (for serenity) and vipassana (for insight). Vipassana meditation aims to develop an intuitive understanding of impermanence, suffering, and no-self.

  • The passage questions how one can logically conclude through introspection that they do not exist. It argues we are human beings and our mental lives belong to our animal nature.

  • Though skeptical of no-self, the author acknowledges why it may be life-transforming by undermining attachment, selfishness, and fear of death.

  • The passage differentiates Buddhist mindfulness from a secular conception, arguing it can foster serenity but not the metaphysical insight of no-self. Mindfulness can combat automaticity and enhance vitality.

  • Simply being present is not enough to find meaning - one’s circumstances still matter. Living in the present should not conceal an objectively dull or futile life, like Sisyphus’ endless task. Activities need existential or ameliorative worth for a meaningful life.

  • The passage discusses managing a midlife crisis by engaging in activities fully in the present moment rather than focusing solely on goals and the future.

  • It argues for developing an appreciation for “atelic” activities like meditation, spending time with friends, appreciating art/nature, etc. that have value in and of themselves rather than aiming at some terminal outcome.

  • Engaging with atelic activities allows one to find meaning and satisfaction in the process rather than just the completion of projects or goals. This can help overcome a sense of emptiness, futility, or repetition in midlife.

  • Mindfulness meditation specifically is highlighted as a way to train one’s attention on fully experiencing the present moment rather than being absorbed by projects and the future.

  • Living this way in appreciation of atelic activities is presented as a way to resolve a midlife crisis by perceiving the inherent value of the present moment rather than deferring satisfaction to the future.

  • The passage discusses seeking meaning and purpose in life during midlife. It proposes focusing on living in the present moment rather than being anxious about the future or past.

  • Living in the present allows one to fill daily life with significance and intention. It provides mental focus, fulfillment, and motivation to strive for worthwhile goals currently rather than being distracted by hypothetical schemes.

  • This outlook can be used selfishly but can also refuse anxiety over an inconsequential life by concentrating on striving for meaningful aims in the present.

  • Overall it presents being present-focused as a way to experience energy, focus, richness, and drive to pursue meaningful goals now rather than worrying about the distant future or past.

Here are the summaries of the requested sources:

  1. In this quote, W. H. Auden argues that while literature does not change human nature, it does allow us to see ourselves more clearly and judge ourselves more justly.

  2. In this work, Leo Tolstoy describes his religious confession and loss of faith in the Orthodox Christian faith of his upbringing. He acknowledges the innate human desire to believe but struggles to reconcile this with the doctrines of the church.

  3. This quote refers to a passage from Aristotle’s Eudemian Ethics where he discusses the doctrine that pleasure perfects activity. Here he argues that pleasures do not perfect activities by themselves but only in relation to the activities they accompany.

Here is a summary of the key points from the references:

  • Reference 1 discusses the stand-up comedy of Stewart Lee and how it investigates memory, nostalgia, and midlife.

  • Reference 2 provides biographical details about Arthur Schopenhauer.

  • Reference 3 further discusses Schopenhauer’s life and the development of his philosophies.

  • Reference 4 continues the biography of Schopenhauer.

  • Reference 5 notes Schopenhauer’s view of will and asceticism late in his life.

  • Reference 6 directly quotes a passage from Schopenhauer on will and representation.

  • Reference 7 discusses linguistic aspects of “aspect” relevant to Schopenhauer’s philosophy.

  • Reference 8 and 9 discuss Aristotle’s views on time and being.

  • Reference 10 again directly quotes Schopenhauer on will and representation.

  • Reference 11 mentions Max Weber’s philosophy on Protestant work ethic.

  • Reference 12 discusses Rachel Cusk’s novel Outline and its treatment of time and subjectivity.

  • References 13-28 provide further discussion and context around ideas of time, presence, mindfulness, Buddhism, and meaningful living.

  • Reference 29 lists recommendations for further reading on related philosophical topics.

In summary, the references cover biographical details on philosophers like Schopenhauer, direct quotes from philosophical texts, and discussion of concepts dealing with time, presence, meaning, and living fully in the present moment.

Here is a summary of the key points across the documents:

  • Perrin, Reginald, and David Nobbs discuss the midlife crisis experience, with Perrin focused on the psychological aspects from ages 68-70 and Nobbs describing his own experience from 68-70.

  • Lucretius, in lines 109-111 and 125, discusses ideas related to mortality and death.

  • Plato discusses philosophical ideas related to psychology, morality, and ethics in various works from ages 23-24, 30, 42, 61, and 90.

  • Several poems from ages 6, 37, 40-42, 45, 48, 51-53, 55-57, 59-61, 66, 70-76, 97-100, and 124 are discussed in relation to themes of regret, nostalgia, missed opportunities.

  • Janet Maslin’s book review from age 63 analyzes themes of regret and missed opportunities.

  • Medicine and treatments related to psychology are discussed from ages 14, 56-57, 60-61, 66, 70-76, 97-101, and 130.

  • Meditation practices are discussed from ages 5, 124-125, 145-148, 150-151, 153-154, 158, and 178.

  • Topics in psychology are discussed from ages 10-17, 23-24, 30, 34-35, 78-79, 151 related to life stages, emotions, and well-being.

  • Concepts like regret, nostalgia, missed opportunities, risk-aversion, and living with meaning are discussed across various texts in relation to aging and life experiences.

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