Happy Aging?

“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.

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Happy Aging?

  1. Good ideas in that TED talk…thank you. I’ve been continuing to read and study the ideas from Angeles Arrien, The Second Half of Life, Opening the 8 Gates of Wisdom…a wonderful book with terrific and helpful perspectives.

    Like

  2. This is actually a topic I feel passionate about and blog on frequently (aging-is-simply-living-life). Everyone ages- from first born to centenarian. Happy aging in NOT an oxymoron. Aging has negative societal connotations around it but , we can re-determine the meaning. I would love to have others share blogs/multimedia/books/poems (yep, that Purple one is fun but surely there are more)that handles aging with grace and gusto,because yes, older people can and often do have a happier content attitude with life.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Here’s to aging with adventure! | A Woman's Guide

  4. Pingback: More evidence that older folks are happier - The Rice Post

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s