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9-enders: people approaching their 30s, 40s and 50s, examining their lives for meaning and setting off skydiving, running marathons and climbing Everest


People in the last year of a decade, say, 29, 39, 49, 59, are known as 9-enders — a term from Adam Alter and Hal Hershfield. While it could have been that one year is kind of like the next year, Adam and Hal propose that as we approach the end of a decade we are more likely to do a kind of meaning audit of our lives. And in the years just before the end of a decade, if we may have fallen short, or feel there’s something else we want to accomplish, we’re much more likely to do it then than in any other year of a decade.

In practice, as Dan Pink shared in his book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, these are, therefore, the times when we’re more likely to do something extreme like running a marathon for the first time and, sadly, also committing suicide.

Take care out there.

Read more in Dan Pink’s Atlantic article: You’re Most Likely to Do Something Extreme Right Before You Turn 30, Dan Pink, The Atlantic


When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Dan Pink

People search for meaning when they approach a new decade in chronological age, PNAS, vol. 111 no. 48, Alter and Hershfield, 2014.

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