Researchers have consistently discovered that we tend to be highly content with life in our twenties, followed by a dip in middle age, and an increase again after fifty. This means that there is life after fifty and it can genuinely be good!
As for wisdom, is there any surprise that data shows a connection between it and age? After all, experiences bring us knowledge, and the more time we spend collecting those experiences, the more of an opportunity we have to learn from them.
What makes us happier after fifty?
The World Values Survey indicates that one of the primary things that bring us joy are social interactions. Meaningful connections are essential for our mental well-being and levels of happiness. Jonathan Rauch, author of The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50, writes in his book, "If required to choose, the experiments show, you would be better off with less health but more social ties than the other way around."
What if we feel miserable at 40?
There is hope! While the curve is just an average of our collective life experiences, rather than a specific promise for each individual, it does show that there is a higher probability that feeling less than satisfied in our forties is just a phase in life and that our perspective will have a chance to improve after the middle-age slump.
In an interview with Forbes, Rauch explains it like this:
“It seems to be a universal problem, for men and women, for rich and poor, at every education level, even in primates. It doesn’t happen to every individual. The U-curve isn’t the curve of any particular life, so what any individual feels will depend on what else is going on in your life."
But it’s that undercurrent that’s pretty universal. And it’s found in huge data sets in countries all over the world with diverse cultures. And this tendency seems to be a fundamental finding about human nature.”
Here’s to a truly happy retirement, no matter where you are located!
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