Constraints, Discipline, and Happiness
YOUNG PEOPLE ARE fairly happy and carefree. By and large, every day offers them lots of potential fun. When they are still in college, graduate school, or training programs, life is not fabulous because they still have papers to write, exams to prepare for, and evaluations to undergo. But papers, labs, and exams are at worst a type of intermittent agony, and well worth the freedom that academic life or life on one’s own brings with it.
Even once they are in the workplace, most young people enjoy themselves immensely, at least for a few years. At some point, a few dark clouds appear on the horizon—slow-moving ones. These clouds may loom on the relationship front. Depending on gender, geography, and aspirations, by their late 20s a good number of young people get apprehensive if they are not in a relationship. Yo ung men begin to see their friends pairing off and young women who hope one day to have children become more acutely aware of their ticking biological clocks.
Let’s optimistically designate the situation of young adults as “edgy exhilaration.” Now, it would not be surprising if the exhilarated twenty-somethings r eading this book might be getting a bid edgier than usual as a result of reading the last chapter. Talk about forbidden or off-limits actions surely gives them pause. Yes, the emphasis was on positive goals and the broad array of acceptable actions, and, yes, it was pointed out that the area of off-limit actions was small compared to the overall field of acceptable and exemplary actions. Still, a good number of young people would be fearful that the off-limits area is eventually going to get bigger