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Life Reimagined

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Life Reimagined

The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

View midlife as a time for growth, renewal and change.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Inspiring


National Public Radio journalist Barbara Bradley Hagerty took two years to research the question, “How can I craft a meaningful middle life?” She interviewed neuroscientists, psychologists, therapists and college professors. She identifies and shares several themes that add up to a fulfilling midlife and old age: seek novel experiences, stay engaged, prioritize relationships and give back. getAbstract recommends her in-depth exploration of this stage of life to anyone nearing or in middle age.


Myths of Midlife

At age 53, National Public Radio journalist Barbara Bradley Hagerty embarked on a quest to examine the middle stage of life and to learn which choices enable you to thrive while setting a productive, healthy and fulfilling course for your later years.

Researchers largely ignore the middle years. Science doesn’t fully understand people’s 40s, 50s and 60s. In the 1970s, the midlife crisis – which Gail Sheehy codified in Passages – became a common stereotype. Researchers now find that the crisis is a myth. Instead, midlife is a time of revitalization, exhilarating change and purpose.

As life expectancy lengthens, people in midlife expect to live decades longer. The steps you take during these years will affect your health and well-being in the future. Embrace three ideas:

  1. “Engage with verve” – Embrace what’s important and meaningful – whether that’s family, career, self-improvement or community.
  2. “Choose purpose over happiness” – Seeking happiness through short-term pursuits is less satisfying than working at long-term goals that give your life meaning.

About the Author

Barbara Bradley Hagerty, an NPR correspondent for 19 years, also wrote The New York Times bestseller, Fingerprints of God.

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