The Atlantic has a sure fire winner online. Kate Bolick's All the Single Ladies follows the formula - single woman in New York, romantic life, no true love, aging now, allegedly happy single. Every magazine can do it once a year, usually in the fall.
These articles feel sad to me; the authors protest too much. I hope it's just part of the formula, the adult equivalent of the dead mothers of Disney orphans. Something to pluck the strings and get the hits. We all need to work.
There's a deeper theme to play with though, one Bolick wisely avoids. The vast majority of humans, from nameless peasant to feudal king, have had short lives of abundant suffering and few choices. Bolick has, by their standards, vast wealth, luxury and choice. Me too and probably you, we're the lucky ones.
It's relative though, our active lives aren't much longer than the life of a Roman citizen. We have many more choices, but roughly the same number of prime years to spend them. We have to leave a lot of roads untraveled.
If our lifespan were matched to our choices, we'd be 35 for a hundred years. It still wouldn't be enough of course.
Me, I say there's a truck waiting on every one of those roads. Step off the curb one day, and meet the truck. So this road really is the best of all ...