Happy Days! Why Your Days as An Over 50 Year Old Are Likely to be the Best in Your Life
Think you’re at your happiest when you’re young, free and single? Think again! According to the latest research, the most contented years of our lives are when we reach the age of 50 or over.
The Peak of Happiness? When We’re 80!
Biologist and author Lewis Wolpert suggests that the happiest time of our life is when we reach the age of 80, which means that, for most of us, the best is still to come.
‘What emerges,’ he states, ‘is that people in their teens and 20s tend to be averagely happy but this declines steadily until early middle age. But from the mid-40s, people tend to become ever more cheerful, perhaps reaching a maximum in their late 70s or 80s.’
Backed Up by Research
A study was carried out by the National Academy of Sciences in the US, which reinforces Wolpert’s claims closely, showing that enjoyment in life dips in early adulthood, only to rise again in later years, reaching a peak at around 85.
A further report from the Office of National Statistics revealed a ‘happiness index’ within the UK; which revealed that teens and those in retirements were most likely to experience satisfaction within their lives.
‘It certainly seems that we get happier post-60, even if age is starting to impact upon our health,’ says Susan Quillian, a psychologist. ‘In general, this can be a very positive time.’
Reasons to be Happy
According to Virginia Ironside, one of the UK’s longest serving agony aunts, there’s everything to be grateful for about growing old. She identifies some of the best aspects about being over 50.
- You’re likely to feel a lot more confident in your own skin as you grow older, and will lose the many insecurities that plagued you as a younger person.
- Stand out. You have the ability to stand out from the crowd if you put some effort in, and choose your clothes carefully.
- Reduced sex drive. The reduction in libido can actually serve as a welcome relief for many, alleviating the pressure to have sex because we feel we should, rather than because we want to.
- You’re likely to be a lot more open about things, and a lot less afraid of taboo topics. You’ll also be comfortable talking about your ailments with friends and getting better treatment as a result.
- Benefits of living alone. If you’ve lost a partner, although this can be deeply distressing, there are perks to being alone, not least the complete autonomy and independence that accompanies it.
Of course, happiness may not come to everyone; and a large part of what makes us happy is determined by the events in our lives, every bit as much as our age. However, studies suggest that we’re more pre-disposed to enjoy contentment in our later years, and that happiness is there for the taking; it’s just a matter of locating it.