Saturday, December 18, 2010

You miserable sub-45 creatures.

Mark Lowry, comedian, in this hilarious interview when he turned forty, explains how the description of birthday changes every decade.

You BECOME 21. You TURN 30. You're PUSHING to 40. You REACH 50. You MAKE it to 60. By that time,you’ve built up so much speed you HIT 70. After that, it's just a day-to-day thing"

Yes, old age catches up quite fast. I can vouch for that now. But it is not all bad news.

In a recent article, The Economist dips into various global studies on the subject and explains the correlation between age and happiness.

When people start out on adult life, they are, on average, pretty cheerful. Things go downhill from youth to middle age until they reach a nadir commonly known as the mid-life crisis. So far, so familiar. The surprising part happens after that. Although as people move towards old age they lose things they treasure—vitality, mental sharpness and looks—they also gain what people spend their lives pursuing: happiness.

….One paper, published this year by Arthur Stone, Joseph Schwartz and Joan Broderick of Stony Brook University, and Angus Deaton of Princeton, breaks well-being down into positive and negative feelings and looks at how the experience of those emotions varies through life. Enjoyment and happiness dip in middle age, then pick up; stress rises during the early 20s, then falls sharply; worry peaks in middle age, and falls sharply thereafter; anger declines throughout life; sadness rises slightly in middle age, and falls thereafter.

In short, what these studies tell us is that, after the peak happiness in the twenties, there is a steady decline till the age of 45 or so. At this point, there is a U-bend and we start the upward climb on the happiness curve again.

So, what I want to convey to the kids in the age group 25-40 is this: No doubt you are young and all that. But you are on the downward slope of the happiness curve and will keep sliding steadily for some more years. Whereas, I have bottomed-out of that curve and am well on the ascending part of the graph. Take that, you miserable lot.

2 comments:

ramesh said...

gulp .. am 25 and not quite the happiest .. so now it is probable i will go further down :(

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