Why are the frail elderly happier than the dynamic young? In last week’s post, I discussed a bit about the so-called U-Bend of Life as reported in the Dec 16 issue of The Economist.
This week, let us explore further the reasons for the well-being that comes with age. If you take a look at the elderly, we will see all the limitations that aging brings: lack of vitality, mobility problems, failing eyesight, hearing impairment, and cognitive decline. For those who put emphasis on appearances, think about wrinkles and receding hairline.
Why are the old happier than the young? As the report in The Economist had stated:
“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.”
- has lots of expectations to live up to
- has lots of dreams and ambition to pursue and achievr
- experiences frustrations and disappointment
At middle age, people might
- have children reaching puberty, thus adding to stress
- have financial worries such as mortgage and college money
- be stuck in a boring job with low pay, little challenge and very little xxx to move up the career ladder.
Here are some insights as to why the aged are enjoying life more than I do:
- Older people tend to have more financial stability than the middle aged. They have no more axes to grind, no more wild oats to sow.
- “Because the old know they are closer to death, they grow better at living for the present. They come to focus on things that matter now—such as feelings—and less on long-term goals.”
- “ [When] hearing disparaging things about them… older people [are] less angry and less inclined to pass judgment, taking the view, as one put it, that “you can’t please all the people all the time.”
In developed countries, the ageing population is considered a burden to the system. In western medicine, aging is viewed as a disease to be treated. Perhaps it is time to re-examine these concepts.