“When grace is joined with wrinkles it is adorable.
There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.”
– Victor Hugo
Happy aging? Isn’t that an oxymoron?!
I was at a birthday party this weekend, a nice group of people, good food and music. But often I’ve found that at birthday parties for people around 50, conversations start to gravitate toward aging. Sigh. People see people at the party that they haven’t seen in awhile, there are hugs and then often those embarrassing moments when one of the folks has to ask for a reminder of name and/or affiliation; after dances, people come off the dance floor complaining about aches and pains in knees and joints, and the consumption of too much alcohol is no longer quite as cute or funny.
When I got home from the party, I wanted to do a bit of homework about happiness and aging. I’ve read quite a bit about older people being happy – but wanted some empiracle evidence. The first thing we have to acknowledge is that we are all living longer, across the board. And this is a good thing, right? Well I want to think so, but I can’t help wondering what I’ll be like at 80 . . . hopefully wearing purple with a red hat that doesn’t match!
One of the things from the research that made a lot of sense to me was that as we grow older and we realize that we won’t live forever, we change our perspectives on life in positive ways; our goals change and we realize we don’t have all the time in the world, we see our priorities clearer, and we don’t worry as much about what constitutes trivial matters – essentially we don’t sweat the small stuff.
Basically it seems that older people are happier in themselves and with others because they choose to be.
Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, Laura Carstensen has researched this topic extensively. In the following TED talk, she discusses happy aging, and pretty much empiracally proves that, on the whole, older people are happier! Yay! This is good news for those of us that are attending more and more birthday parties for people over 50!
I hope you take the time to watch Professor Carstensen, especially for those of you over 50! I found it uplifting and hopeful.
And as always thank you for taking the time to visit, I appreciate it.