I will turn 50 next year. I have spent the last five years struggling with and succumbing to all of the internal rumination you so accurately articulated, although mine did spiral down as deep as clinical depression. With the help of therapy and medication, and a huge boost of serendipity, I managed to pull out of the clinical depression by the summer of 2016. But the deep malaise has persisted. I could find no answers or effective modalities to relieve it. This year, I decided I must be genetically or spiritually cursed and resigned myself to living the rest of my life in a perpetual dark night of the soul. From time to time, I would pray to the universe for something, anything, to help me find my way back to some sort of ‘normalcy.’
Your book told me I am not broken or fundamentally flawed. Apparently, I am quite normal! And there is a light at the end of the tunnel and potential for maybe even experiencing more contentment, if not happiness, than I have ever known before I die. Just knowing that is a true possibility is like having a breeze hit my sail after years of no wind at all.
Comment: Knowing about the happiness curve is not a cure-all. It won’t banish depression, for example. But it is an important piece of the puzzle, partly for the reason that Laura attests to: it provides reassurance that midlife dissatisfaction is not brokenness and is not permanent. Just knowing that—as I wish I had, when I was in my middle and late forties—can give major relief.