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November 29, 2007



I've noticed - looking back from my age of 60 - that around 40, a profound change comes over men generally, and specifically to my friends.
None of them were T-totallers at that time, all enjoyed a good drink. But from their 40th birthday onwards, they either became seriously addicted to drink ( some have even perished from it) or started to ease off and drink less and less, or, in some cases, stop altogether. In my own, I stopped - but drink when I'm abroad.
In all cases, whichever way they went,they were happier.So either they felt they weren't getting enough before they were 40 and by drinking more felt they were now in the zone, or they felt bad about how much they were drinking - and cut back, thus feeling justified and righteous - and probably a little smug

Matt Munro

It's almost certainly not an economic phenomena. Earnings generally peak in late 30s and by early 40s you (should) have stopped imagining that you will ever captain England/fly to the moon/date a supermodel/sit on the board of a FTSE100. You have probably peaked in career terms and noticed that young women start to view you as a lecherous old perv rather than an admirer. On the upside giving up on climbing the greasy pole reduces stress and encourages you to be content with what you have, more significantly, you may have had children , which gives you a completely different perspective and a more balanced outlook. So by mid 40s you can insulate yourself against disappointment, knowing that even if you die tomorrow you will have made a contribution.


Well by the time I am 40 I'll have one 3 year old kid and another much younger one. I can imagine that I'll be happy, but absolutely knackered and stressed by work and family responsibilities. So might not feel all that chipper, especially in the mornings!

Still at 40 too - 25 years to retirement. Oh my, its a depressing thought.

Conversely by 40 I won't give a f*ck at all about what others think of me - already nearly there and its enjoyable.


Matt Monro - the only one you would almost certainly be disqualified for would be captaining England. But dating a supermodel? No problem.Footsie company? Definitely. Moon? Branson will do it for you.I do think you care less about others' opinion of you, and that almost certainly makes you feel happier!


expectation => disappointment => resignation

money not much to do with it

I am much richer than I was at 25 (now 45) but no happier - though no less happy either I would say


By that age most men are fat family middle manager mortgage man. Their youthful dreams are gone and instead they are a slave to the man, the wife, and the family.

Things probably improve as in time the boss will retire (or die) and you take his place, you learn to tolerate (or divorce) the wife, the mortgage is paid off, and the kids get old enough to look after themselves.


At 40, few girls smile at you as a come-on, and they don't yet smile at you as a fount of avuncular wisdom. Plus, there is the business of the hair.

Matt Munro

What business with the hair ? I've got more than I started with - it's just growing in the wrong places (nose and ears)


Speak for yourself, dearieme.


Your parents die, your kids are teenagers and a pain in the ass, your marriage is old and stale, your job sucks and it's too late to change careers, you're getting older, don't look so good, stressed and tired in every direction....

It's the piling on of all these problems that hits us in the 40s. By the end of the decade, you're used to it, you've survived it, the kids are older and might move out soon, the parents are gone, or in the home or with the sister in law or whatever, but mostly - you've survived it. You've dealt with Life, and you know you're not really going to get out of it alive since no one does, so - enjoy it. You finally get to the point where things are mostly good, and you move on from there.

And as a favor to older men, I've begun to smile at them. Even though I'm 49, they like that. A lot. heh.


yes yes yes but what has this got to do with anything?


and Donna, just don't. It's not fair on them.


Seriously Chris I think its time for a rethink of this blog. Too many half-cock snippets and distractions like this. Amongst some excellent well researched and thought out articles.

I think you should do two blogs. One with occasional lengthy pieces specifically about Left-Libertarian economics, and a second a diary-like more personal collection of thoughts and observations. At the moment its too muddled.


Where is 'dearieme' when you need him?


Vide supra, NIB.

Glenn (pka angry economist)

dipper - the man's blog is his own surely he can do what he likes? the man Chris Dillow likes to ponder all sorts of questions, and is a refreshing change from other blogs that copy and paste the dead trees media and offer their scant observations.


Yes Glenn, it is entirely up to Chris what he sticks on his blog.

But presumably someone publishes a blog for public consumption, so I offered some thoughts in the hope that it might help Chris give his readers a better experience.

Specifically, I sometimes find it a bit frustrating that an excellent post which is attracting some solid debate suddenly finds itself five posts down, and before a resolution in the comments has been reached, we're all on to something else.


Never posted on here before but I'm doing a study on this at the moment for my uni course. Thought some of you may be interested in reading Blanchflower and Oswalds paper from 2006 called Is Wellbeing U-Shaped over the Life Cycle? They run a regression analysis to control for many of the factors, which you have mentioned such as job satisfaction or having kids. This suggests it is more a psychological thing due to factors such as expectations.


account course

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