Suicide Rates and Expectations

suicideSuicide rates among middle-aged Americans have apparently risen sharply in the past decade, so says The New York Times. More Americans now die of suicide than car accidents. The greatest increases have been among males in their 50s.

Researchers acknowledge that the reasons are complex and varied. But two factors seem to stand out: stresses of the recession and the easy availability of prescription painkillers.

One other factor may be significant: Baby boomers had great expectations for how well their lives would be, but for most it didn’t turn out that way.

Looking at the ebb and surge of socially abetted narcissism of generations since, it seems likely that the despair of failed hopes will continue to plague people in the future.

I’ve certainly felt that at times. I once thought my life would be a whole lot richer and more successful and important in the eyes of the world (along with my own) than it ever has become. I’m sure many others experience the same. I look at high school and college graduates, and I see and hear their hopes and determinations to change the world and live a fabulous life. I applaud that. Yet with caution and wisdom.

I have painfully come to understand that hardly any of us will be as rich or famous or significant or carefree–or whatever–as we originally dreamed.

And that’s okay. It really is.

It’s not only okay, it’s arguably better. Because the things we so characteristically dream of are the very things that typically keep us from connecting deeply with God.

I’d rather be relegated to the sidelines on earth and out of my sense of lack be connected well with the Master of the Universe than think I’m such great stuff on earth that I overlook eternity and my need for God.

What are your hopes and dreams?

How do you seek personal fulfillment, value and meaning?

Photo Credit: