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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Happier with Age

Some researchers have decided that happiness increases with age.   They put it in terms of how people feel about themselves.   At age 18 people feel good in that respect, but as time goes on, that feeling drops, up to about 50, when they slowly start feeling better again, until, at age 85, they hit the same peak that they had enjoyed at 18.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear that a large number of people are highly displeased with this finding.   It violates their belief that old age is a curse to be avoided by any means possible, even by shooting one's self early, if not with bullets, then with any other indulgence that offers itself.

I think that's mainly because of the appearance thing.

As for the finding, that at least has been my experience, though I think speaking in terms of "happiness" is far too general here.  The level of anxiety makes more sense.   Nor have I ever felt displeased with myself more, or less, at one age than I have at any other time.   But, as much as memory will allow me, I would concede that, soon to be 79, I am definitely less anxious than I was at 50.

These researchers expressed bafflement as to the reason why, and (to fill out the article maybe) they offered up all sorts of esoteric scientific theories.

But I happen to know exactly why I am increasingly less anxious as I slide ever more quickly toward that magic 85.  There are two main reasons.  More could occur to me later.

The first is that at this advanced age I feel that most of the crapstorms have now passed by and left me still reasonably intact, and with each day there is less and less prospect of any more coming up.

The second is related, in a way, and it is that from about 50 onward, you start a process of removing the "urgent" and "crucial" and "important" tags from things, and relabeling them as being one hundred percent bullpoop.  And I suppose that that realization keeps going on till at the end you've put just about everything in that latter bin.


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