the ones who often wonder what might have been when they hit midlife

8769

Senior Member
Japanese and Japan
The passage below is an adaptation of what heard in a radio program. The commentator, an educated middle-aged American woman, is talking about midlife crisis.
A woman, whom I met in the U.S. a few years ago, was in her mid-20s, living in her hometown and working in a job that was stable. She wanted to move overseas but had a long list of reasons why she shouldn't go, and in many ways she was the typical candidate for quarter-life crisis.. However, she was eager to hear about my experiences living in Japan and I could tell she really wanted to make the move but was afraid to do so. ( ).
About the blank in the passage above, I have a question.

If I transcribed it correctly, what I heard for the blank above was #1 below.
1. People who don't take chances are the ones who often wonder what might have been when they hit midlife.

In this context, however, I think I might have said #2 below instead of #1.
2. People who don't take chances are the ones who often wonder what might be when they hit midlife.

Do you think #1 is more natural in this context? Do you even think #2 is not correct here?

I sometimes get lost with the “would(or might/could) have –ed” pattern” like this.
I’d like any comment, please.
 
  • talshanir

    Senior Member
    Argentina Spanish
    Hi 8769,

    I think that from the context you gave, #1 is the correct one.

    1. People who don't take chances are the ones who often wonder what might have been when they hit midlife.

    What this paragraph tells us is that people do not take chances because they are afraid or whatever and then when they get to midlife, they start to think how their lives would have been different if they had taken their chances, which they didn't and cannot do anymore.

    In the second example it's before they hit midlife and, therefore, still can do it.

    I hope this helps.
     
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