Psychotherapist Rollo May was nearly 60 before he finally met the twin goddesses of success -- fame and fortune -- with his 1969, bestseller "Love and Will."
"For the first time in my life I had enough money," recalls May, 71. "But I was very much perplexed. I did not feel joy. I felt the question: 'Is that all there is?"
"It was one of the least happy periods of my life. I soon saw that to be out of debt was satisfying, but not at all a reason for living."
This feeling of emptiness and quest for a deeper meaning in life, says May, "is often heard from people in their late 50s who have money and a house. I don't think the question (Is that all there is?) comes unless you're satisfied.
"If you're unsatisfied, you're too busy grabbing and reaching out for some goal or great virtue. It's when your basic needs are met that you look for something more. Once you've made enough money, you're out for bigger game."
The root of this "unsccess ennui," May says, is often the heavy emphasis put on material goods or pleasure. "Paying too much attention to satisfaction -- or hedonism as it's often called -- seems to me always a disappointment.
"I prefer the word joy as something to strive for rather than satisfaction. Joy makes me think of liveliness and stimulation -- something more than eating and sleeping and having your needs met like a little baby.
"When you experience joy you don't feel like eating. You are caught up in wonder and beauty."
To recapture joy and to make off the hollowness he felt after "Love and Will's" success, May "pulled myself together, set other goals and dusted off the goals I already had."
Although "I could have coasted," he admits, he is still writing and practicing psychotherapy in his California home. May's suggestion for combating The Big Letdown:
"Find things that will be goals and will give you a sense of enjoyment and meaning . . . or a taste of adventure."