Why does this seem to happen so often? There are likely several contributing factors. One factor may be that often life is increasingly stressful for many people as they approach their late forties. They may have teen aged children or may be dealing with the stress of paying for college for their kids and at the same time they are dealing with the failing health of their own parents. Another likely factor is that in many cases they are beginning to perceive that there is a ceiling on their career advancement. For the first time as they approach the age of fifty they see that perhaps they are not going to reach the levels of success they had hoped for. Life is proving to be somewhat disappointing. Perhaps as well in those years people are experiencing the aches, pains and limitations of age, and this adds to the somewhat discouraging mix.
What all this means is that much of our lack of satisfaction comes from being focused on trying to gain status and possessions in this world. As we begin to think more about what really matters, about knowing God and simply loving people, we experience more peace and much more joy in life. Curiously we don’t need to have studies by economists and psychologists to tell us this. The Scriptures have long said real life is not found in the successes and achievements and glories of this world. David wrote long ago in Psalm 16:11, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.” Paul told us in Colossians 3:2-3, “set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Jesus told us to love people the way he loved. This is where life to the fullest is found. The researchers are just now discovering he was exactly right. It’s nice to have them confirm it for us, but all along we could save ourselves some unhappiness and find a lot more satisfaction in life if we would just believe what God has told us in his word and live by it.