(Excerpted from the book How to Survive Your Childhood Now That You’re an Adult: A Path to Authenticity and Awakening)
Every time our mind says: “I will be happy when...,” what we are really saying is: “I do not accept my life today and who I am. I want things to be different from the way they are.”
I believe that what we call a midlife crisis is really a questioning of personal identity that occurs when someone accomplishes many of the things he or she set out to accomplish but fails to attain the happiness he or she expected to accompany having 2.3 children, a home/mortgage, two automobile leases, luxurious vacations, and so on.
Popular culture — films, songs, television, books, magazines, and countless websites, apps, and social media — teaches us that if we attract a spouse, earn excessive amounts of money, buy a home or homes, and raise children, we will be happy. But after accomplishing these things, many people are not happy. They are simply unhappy parents and homeowners with countless stresses, financial obligations, and perennial pressures weighing on them such as leases, mortgages, credit card bills, and student loans. And they feel betrayed.
The voice in their heads asks, “Wasn’t accomplishing all these things supposed to make me happy?”
But there is no end to the hedonic treadmill, since children, houses, cars, boats, and wardrobes appear to be in constant need of expensive upkeep.