Last night at the sushi restaurant Emily said that she thought there were three basic strategies to navigating one's forties: (1) try to shape oneself according to the cultural and aesthetic norms appropriate to people in their twenties, (2) become matronly (this applies to men and women), and (3) embrace punk rock.
I objected that this didn't really say anything since our generation has made "punk rock" an anodyne term of approbation. Or rather it just says that you can deny aging, become a matron, or do something worthwhile. So all that's being expressed is criticism of people who don't grow up or who grow up according to the accepted program (which seems a little unfair to the accepted program; one of my greatest hopes is to accompany a bunch of grandkids to church someday) .
Emily responded that "punk rock" very clearly denotes willingness to maniacally follow a do-it-yourself work ethic with respect to the things you find meaningful no matter what the rest of the world thinks. I responded that people might find reliving their twenties (with older bodies and fatter paychecks) or becoming matronly meaningful and hence qualify as punk rock. Emily just responded that in her lexicon disjunction is always inclusive and any Gricean implicatures to the contrary a priori cancelled.
So it's OK if the list isn't exclusive. But I don't think it's exhaustive either. The best country music song in history is called "Waiting Around To Die," and I've sadly known a few people whose post-tenure existence approximated that. People who get successful in fields under all of the external pressure facing anyone working in those fields often can't deal with the point when that pressure lifts. Retirement can do this too. It's a kind of psychic bends that sometimes kills people. Another depressing and widespread one might be "addictions less harmful than those of your thirties," e.g. twelve stepism, t.v. parties, dianetics, some forms of religious and/or political activism, etc., etc., etc.
There have to be some that are less depressing than either waiting around to die or less-harmful-addictions, but maybe they all fall under the penumbra of "punk rock" as Emily defines it. If that's true, the existentialists (at least of the Victor Fraenkl variety) were right after all. That seems O.K. to me.