Age Brings Happiness

While many people believe that aging is depressing, studies have proven time and again that people’s happiness starts increasing around the age of fifty. This is great news as we are all getting older. Frequently, society tells us that aging is about failing health and slowing down. However, research shows that simply isn’t true. While it’s hard to study something internal and subjective, poll-after-poll, year-after-year, they have seen the same results: older people are happier than younger people.

Looking at Gallup polls, happiness is a “u” shape on a graph as we age. It’s a global pattern. The Gallup poll looked at people from 158 countries. While India and Former USSR countries don’t have the same pattern, overall, people around the world get a happiness boost around fifty and continue to become happier throughout their lives.

The General Social Survey has been collecting information since 1972 and saw the same pattern. By having more than 50,000 interviews over the decades, they could rule out blips or any generational ideals of happiness. The researchers aren’t sure what it is that makes people happier as they get older, but they have some guesses. It might be based on having fewer worries about children or money. We might get happier as we age because we stop being concerned about what other people think of us and let go of the stress of trying to fit into a particular role. It could be that we stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, relax and enjoy our lives as they are. Whatever the reason, the results were the same. They did see that health played a role in just how happy people were. The results showed older people were happier overall, but there were differences in the age group — the healthier older people were, the happier they were.

We believe in this research whole-heartedly. Aging has perks. The poem “When I Am Old” perfectly shows the mindset we attain as we grow older. Allowing ourselves to shrug off the societal norms we grew up with might be the secret to happiness. So, here’s to embracing our age and enjoying the wisdom and pleasure our years give us! The best is yet to come!
July 25, 2019

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