The Best Years Are Still Ahead (Thank Goodness)

chart, graph, happiness, age, Andrew Oswald, aging, youth, happy

  • The behavioral economist Andrew Oswald found that from about the time we are teenagers, our sense of happiness starts to decline, hitting rock bottom in our mid-40s (middle-age crisis, anyone?). Then our sense of happiness miraculously starts to go up again rapidly as we grow older.
  • All in all, Oswald tested a half million people in 72 countries, in both developing and developed nations.
  • And it’s not only we humans who slump in the middle and feel sunnier toward the end. Just recently, Oswald and colleagues demonstrated that even chimpanzees and orangutans appear to experience a similar pattern of midlife malaise.
  • Women hit happiness-bottom at 38.6 years on average, whereas men do more than a decade later, at nearly 53.

Source: Brainpickings.org – Life Cycle Of Happiness

Comments

  1. Wonderful! I have so much to look forward to (besides new wrinkles every day).

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  2. From personal experience, I would say this is true.

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  3. Very interesting!

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  4. That’s good to know! I’m in my early forties and I was afraid it was all downhill from here!

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  5. Interesting indeed. Nice to know rock bottom has passed and it’s all uphill from here!

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  6. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    OMG! My pending 39th birthday was a low. Rock-bottom. I’m so normal πŸ™‚
    Glad it’s far behind – I’ve been on my way back up ever since (as long as I get sleep).

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  7. It IS interesting! and Yay it’s all on the up from here πŸ™‚

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  8. Interesting…thanks for posting! Glad I’m on the uphill swing πŸ™‚

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  9. Exciting…no where but up for me!

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  10. The blissful time when no one depends tends to be happier than those, when everyone depends on your income πŸ˜‰

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  11. All I can say, as a 52 year old man, is that if this is life at its most miserable, what on earth will it be like when it’s at its peak (10 years’ time for me). Bring it on!

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  12. You have my thanks, David πŸ˜‰ I’m going up, up up!

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  13. Personally, I don’t see myself on that curve… but maybe that’s just me, and as the author says, the curve is true for most people, “on average”. All research on “satisfaction” and “happiness” struggles with the same problems: 1. Defining what you mean by “satisfaction” (or whatever it is you are trying to measure); 2. Dealing with the fact that “self-reporting” is affected by the “social desirability” of responses; 3. Satisfaction depends on the level of ambition, which varies from culture to culture; 4. Satisfaction also depends on the level of confidence in reaching your ambition (also different from culture to culture). Ambition also changes with age: that might explain the average curve…

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  14. I’d say that’s about right…..especially in our household.

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  15. Reblogged this on Carlo Favaretti.

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  16. SO interesting. Wow. I just hit 42, so here’s to a fabulously fun roller coaster ride ahead! YAY! I’m ready. πŸ™‚

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  17. I am liking this…a whole heck of a lot! I am looking forward to proving this theory correct. Thanks David…things are looking better already, and will head into my next birthday with a whole new outlook πŸ™‚

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  18. Ha! Well, good thing!

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  19. David Hendry says:

    Many of the finest women i have known have died at 39 and many of the finest men at 53…I am not sure what this says about us old farts but perhaps that is all we are

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