Happy Days: The Pursuit of What Matters in Troubled Times

The new New York Times group blog Happy Days: The Pursuit of What Matters in Troubled Times is off to a good start.

Four people sent me Tim Kreider's post The Referendum, which he defines thusly:

The Referendum is a phenomenon typical of (but not limited to) midlife, whereby people, increasingly aware of the finiteness of their time in the world, the limitations placed on them by their choices so far, and the narrowing options remaining to them, start judging their peers’ differing choices with reactions ranging from envy to contempt.

The whole post is worth reading, which touches on the topic of regret and how making choices destroys alternative paths. Here's the final graf:

One of the hardest things to look at in this life is the lives we didn’t lead, the path not taken, potential left unfulfilled. In stories, those who look back — Lot’s wife, Orpheus and Eurydice — are lost. Looking to the side instead, to gauge how our companions are faring, is a way of glancing at a safer reflection of what we cannot directly bear, like Perseus seeing the Gorgon safely mirrored in his shield.

My other favorite post on the blog is from Robert Wright, talking about going on a silent meditation retreat. Hardheaded as he is, he returns with new compassion for weeds, among other things. I've heard other transformational tales from other very sane people, which is why doing a silent retreat is on my long term to-do list.

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