The Best Time To Plant A Tree Is Now

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Have you heard of the “happiness curve”? According to multiple studies of life satisfaction, I am entering the unhappiest period of my life at age 40 (WaPo):

My theory is that this is simply the inverted curve of “number of humans that I am responsible for”. When you are in your 40s and early 50s, that is when you have both children and your aging parents to worry about. Younger than that, you have no kids and your parents are still healthy. Older than that and your kids are grown and you are back to being only responsible for yourself again.

In any case, I definitely feel that right now is the hardest time for me to stop and enjoy the moment. There’s always another fire to put out. Either a kid or a parent has a health issue. At the same time, I will never be younger than today.

Brendan Leonard has a great graphic is his Outside article Remember When We Were Young?:

I am reminded of the old quote (Chinese proverb?):

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

The best time to improve your financial situation is now. The best time to gather the courage to live a life true to yourself, not the life others expected of you, is now.

I think this extends to life as well. The best time to work at building an happy and fulfilling life is now. The best time to enjoy time with my young kids is now. The best time to enjoy time with my parents is now. One day, I will look back on this period and realize it was one of the best times of my life… I just need constant reminders!!!

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Comments

  1. It looks to me like the unhappy period of one’s life is between graduating from school and retiring. My take away, retire early and be happy again lol.

  2. Interesting.
    I imagine theres a number of variables impacting that curve. Wealth/income level, personal health, work issues, responsibility for dependents, marriage, etc.

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