Interesting discussion folks! I don't have much to add. I went through a crisis turning 30 and another one at 40. They were great for me. Both times I had such a huge shake-up that I got my act together and overhauled my life. Strangely, I 'm not worried about 50 - probably because it is still several years away. Give me 2 years and I'll be there! But friends who are already in their 50s are loving it. They tell me it is finally the age when they stop worrying what people think.
Nebraska, in the UK there is legislation coming in - perhaps it is here already, come to think - which bans age discrimination. It won't stop folks thinking it, but they won't be able to say it out loud. It's a shame it is necessary, but at least it's a step in the right direction.
To answer the question: well, I don't know. I keep changing my mind. But how can he have found the meaning of death when he hasn't felt its bite yet? He comes closest with Mireille: "placed in the balance against death, and |I tip the scales irresistably in life's favor". But this is still an observer's response, an objective one.
This is what I want to say to him. Try being with the man who is dealing with losing the woman he has loved for 50 years. All he wants to do is be with her now. Ah! And now, at last, he understands the comfort of belief in the afterlife. He wants to tell her, hang on love, I'm coming along soon. But he can't, because he doesn't believe there is anything afterwards. Antoine should take a look at that man. Or even better, be him.
This is what else I want to say to him. Try being the woman who left her husband when her kids were tiny, because he used to beat her up. And now her children are grown and married and they haven't seen their father since. And now he dies. They go to the funeral and meet a half-brother they never knew they had, whom they embrace as a brother. And their dad kept their photos always in his wallet. And their mother's bitterness and anger is gone, in a snap of the fingers. Because death changes all. Oh, the what ifs, the if onlys, the could haves, the should haves.
Or be the son at his dad's funeral, in floods of tears, but taking comfort from his religious faith, and from looking at a photo of his dad happy and relaxed, and saying, there was a life well-lived!
Antoine needs to get his hands dirty. He needs to stop thinking and start feeling. Start loving someone up close and personal for a life time. Start thinking about who he might really grieve for when they've gone, and who will grieve for him.
Guess I just climbed down off the fence there. Now I just need to get off my
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."