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I want to complete this sentence:

Here we stand, around ten or fifteen years ago, when I started _____ about life.

The thinking is not necessarily focused on one particular topic. The closet word to think I found is meditate, but it too focuses on "religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation".

  • How about "daydreaming"? – Hot Licks Apr 14 '17 at 12:24
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    Can you narrow this down a bit for me, please? By philosophical, are you referring to coping with adverse situations, or are you developing a coherent world view? (Or both, or neither?) – Lawrence Apr 14 '17 at 12:35
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    You may be restricting yourself by assuming the form [verb] about life, which excludes, for example, ...when I started reflecting on life, or ...evaluating life. – FumbleFingers Apr 14 '17 at 12:38
  • @HotLicks That's an interesting viewpoint. It could be, but not necessary "during which a person's contact with reality is blurred and partially substituted by a visionary fantasy", as defined in Wikipedia – Ooker Apr 14 '17 at 13:29
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    @Ooker Yeah, it would have to either be "there I was, 10 or 15 years ago..." or maybe "It was about 10 or 15 years ago when I..." or something. Unless its a novel where you are doing a deliberate perspective jump, like an older character telling a story from the perspective of their younger selves. But that's a literary device that's hard to do right, not something that should happen in the middle of a sentence. – BradC Apr 14 '17 at 15:49

12 Answers 12

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Metaphysics is, per Merriam-Webster,

a (1) : a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology
(2) : ontology 2
b : abstract philosophical studies : a study of what is outside objective experience

which I think may be what you are trying to get at in your description of "thinking philosophically about life". If so, you can use the verb metaphysicize:

-ed/-ing/-s : to engage in metaphysical speculation

You wouldn't even need to use the last two words of your sentence; you could simply say

Here we stand, around ten or fifteen years ago, when I started metaphysicizing/to metaphysicize.

You don't need to say "about life" since the word on its own includes thinking philosophically about life, the universe, and everything.

On the other hand, if you don't so much mean that you started thinking deep thoughts about life but rather that you became more philosophical about life, in the sense

2 : characterized by the attitude of a philosopher; specifically : calm or unflinching in the face of trouble, defeat, or loss

then you may want to use a longer phrase like "to become more philosophical" or "to be more contemplative" or "to attain serenity".

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  • Getting serious.....? – Xanne Apr 15 '17 at 8:38
  • @Xanne Not sure what you mean? – 1006a Apr 15 '17 at 15:20
  • @0xFEE1DEAD Couldn't tell you. There were at least half a dozen upvoted (by me) answers when I posted, so I wasn't expecting it. But it must capture what the OP was looking for. – 1006a Apr 15 '17 at 18:09
16

One choice would be ruminating. See ruminate defined by Oxford dictionary as

Think deeply about something.

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    I prefer "chewing your cud". – Hot Licks Apr 14 '17 at 17:12
10

To ponder

to think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply

Used in your sentence, it would probably work best as "pondering life," rather than "pondering about life."

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9

I would use contemplate, and simply drop the word "about":

Here we stand, around ten or fifteen years ago, when I started contemplating life.

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  • Snap! (An hour later ...) – Stewart Apr 14 '17 at 17:32
7

To philosophise:

to talk for a long time about subjects such as the meaning of life:

  • Students, she complained, had nothing better to do than spend whole days philosophizing about the nature of truth.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

Also speculate conveys a more general and wider sense of thinking about something:

  • to meditate on or ponder a subject : reflect

(M-W)

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  • can philosophise works on thinking alone? No, I suppose? – Ooker Apr 14 '17 at 13:28
  • @Ooker - yes, it may refer to thinking. – user66974 Apr 14 '17 at 13:31
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muse (MWD)

to become absorbed in thought; especially : to think about something carefully and thoroughly musing about what might have been

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3

Here we stand, around ten or fifteen years ago, when I started thinking existentially about life.

If something is existential, it has to do with human existence. If you wrestle with big questions involving the meaning of life, you may be having an existential crisis. (vocabulary.com)

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2

Philosophize, or philosophise, is probably the most suited to this task especially since it consists of the word and a suffix

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/philosophize

Here we stand, around ten or fifteen years ago, when I started philosophising about life.

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2

contemplation:

deep reflective thought:

  • he would retire to his room for study or contemplation.

(Mac OS Dictionary)

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2

There are still many options :

Cogitate - to think over.

Perpend - to reflect on carefully.

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    it's worth noting that most people probably wouldn't understand these words. i don't think they're good choices for most audiences for that reason. – user428517 Apr 14 '17 at 19:36
  • I like cogitate. Anybody familiar with Descarte's "cogito ergo sum" should be able to understand. – 0xFEE1DEAD Apr 15 '17 at 18:13
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I would consider saying you began to "wax philosophical."

Wax philosophical - To take on a quality or state of thinking or talking of deep subjects such as the meaning of life.

Is there any other way you can "wax" as you do when you "wax philosophical"?

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1

Apart from ponder and contemplate, I would say you could use mull -

Think about (something) deeply and at length.

"She began to mull over the various notions to life"

It gives a feeling of serious contemplation which could be expected when one is thinking about topics like the one you have described.

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