Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
happiness
Old 10-05-2005, 05:21 PM   #1
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
happiness

Clements in the WSJ today talks about midlife angst and how research shows that our happiness level through our lives follows a U-shape, with folks becoming increasingly dissatisfied as they approach their 40s and then bouncing back from there.

A few other interesting points. One is "hedonic adaptation." If you get a raise at work, you will be temporarily more happy, but eventually you adapt to the change and go back to your prior happiness level. However, on the up side, if something bad happens, like ill health or a divorce, most people generally adapt and their happiness levels return to earlier levels.

To boost happiness, research suggests "counting your blessings." This can counteract the tendency to adapt and take for granted the good things in life. Additionally, Clements says research suggests that you will likely be happier if you make a point of trying activities that are enriching or challenging. Finally, cultivate friendships as friends are one of the biggest contributors to happiness.

This makes me think about my father, who suffered ill health for much of his life, getting TB back in the 1920s and spending his teenage years in the sanitarium. His wife, my mother, died in her 30s and he was left to raise four children. Nevertheless, he was one of the happiest and most at peace people I have ever known. He never took a thing for granted and was always thankful for everything he had. FI? Never happened.

Martha, who has suffered a bit of angst of late.






__________________

__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: happiness
Old 10-05-2005, 05:33 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
BigMoneyJim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: DFW
Posts: 2,627
Re: happiness

Yes, we seem to adapt to a baseline happiness. Whenever we feel up or down, there are always people better off and always people worse off. I fear change but have always dealt with it very well once it happens.

I've been fretting over a couple of decisions for months when I should be euphorically happy as this is probably, on a cash-flow, net worth, health and accomplishment level the best position I've been in my life so far.

I don't get it. That's just the way we're wired I guess.
__________________

__________________
BigMoneyJim is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-05-2005, 07:13 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
MasterBlaster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,359
Re: happiness

I don't know about the U-shaped happiness curve at 40. My twenties and early thirties were spent chasing career and several potential spouses. With those pursuits goes all of the associated stress and angst. I'm much happier now on the backside of forty than I ever was in my twenties and thirties mainly because my life is more settled than it was.

Isn't there a saying that life begins at forty. I believe that there is much truth in that statement.

About being happy about receiving a (good) raise: Well that is often associated with the expectation that you will perform as high or higher than you had been. So the money received is sometimes offset by the additional demands placed on you. The net effect is that your happiness may actually decline.
__________________
MasterBlaster is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-05-2005, 08:06 PM   #4
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 768
Re: happiness

Happiness does not depend upon external circumstances. If you wait for things to be perfect before you let yourself be happy, you will never be happy.
__________________
Michael is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-05-2005, 09:22 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,554
Re: happiness

I think that I am happier and more at peace now than I was in my 20-40s. I think that there are several reason for this. We had more bills then and less money, so that I worried for financial reasons. I was afraid that I would not get the promotion at work that I wanted and I eventually did get it and have no real desire to go higher. The children were young and I felt guilt at not being a good enough mother, since I also worked full-time. I felt that a lot of the things that DH did that I did not like, was being done on purpose. (I have since learned that he really did not have a clue--and that men really are from Mars and women from Venus) I really did sweat the small stuff in my younger days and that I have mellowed alot in my older age. I realize that not everything is life and death and that a lot of things are not important in the grand scheme of things. My faith has also increased and I realize that I don't have to do everything myself and that God will always be there for me. I am more at peace the majority of the time. Unfortunately, I still have problems, but my perspective has changed on the scope of the problems.

Martha, I hope that your bit of angst disappears and that you find happiness and peace.

Blessings,

Dreamer
__________________
Dreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-05-2005, 09:24 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
maddythebeagle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,450
Re: happiness

Quote:
Finally, cultivate friendships as friends are one of the biggest contributors to happiness.
I wonder if that one is true for everyone? I know some people that are so introverted and seem to like it that way?

__________________
- Hurry! to the cliffs of insanity!
maddythebeagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 04:20 AM   #7
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
BUM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Mid Hudson Valley
Posts: 1,778
Re: happiness

Lately everything is becoming U shaped. I'm happy, slap-happy. No need to be an unhappy pessimistic scardy cat...DWs in charge of that. :
__________________
In a panamax down by the river.
BUM is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 06:07 AM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
TargaDave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 588
Re: happiness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
Additionally, Clements says research suggests that you will likely be happier if you make a point of trying activities that are enriching or challenging.

That's my motto
Attached Images
File Type: jpg webpic2.JPG (15.4 KB, 72 views)
__________________
TargaDave is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 12:19 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Jay_Gatsby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,719
Re: happiness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael
Happiness does not depend upon external circumstances.* If you wait for things to be perfect before you let yourself be happy, you will never be happy.
This is absolutely true, as I've been coming to learn over the years. You may find yourself in a crappy situation, but it's up to you to find the way out or to make the best of your circumstances. The secret to happiness is not money, power or fame...it's attitude.
__________________
He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it . . . It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. -- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jay_Gatsby is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 12:21 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: happiness

No u-curve here. The older I get the happier I get, and the more I realize how dumb I was up until now and the more surprised I am that I managed to live as long as I did. Hmm.

But then again, I got a good job early on in life and continued to do better each year professionally. Never got fired or had any huge downside problems with my job. Didnt get married young to the wrong person or start having kids in my 20's which would have derailed a lot of 'enriching and challenging' times. Did get married late to a wonderful woman and had a baby late in the game thats really great when he isnt trying to whack on the keyboard while i'm typing!

Maybe the key is waiting to do things until the time is right and you're a little older and make better decisions?
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 12:29 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Jay_Gatsby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,719
Re: happiness

Quote:
Originally Posted by ()
No u-curve here.* The older I get the happier I get, and the more I realize how dumb I was up until now and the more surprised I am that I managed to live as long as I did.* *Hmm.

But then again, I got a good job early on in life and continued to do better each year professionally.* Never got fired or had any huge downside problems with my job.* Didnt get married young to the wrong person or start having kids in my 20's which would have derailed a lot of 'enriching and challenging' times.* Did get married late to a wonderful woman and had a baby late in the game* thats really great when he isnt trying to whack on the keyboard while i'm typing!

Maybe the key is waiting to do things until the time is right and you're a little older and make better decisions?
I think you hit the nail on the head. Although wisdom comes with experience, delaying some "experiences" until you've acquired the wisdom necessary to handle them from other sources is smarter. Why go to the school of hard knocks if you can get your education in other ways?
__________________
He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it . . . It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. -- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jay_Gatsby is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 12:36 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,070
Re: happiness

Quote:
Originally Posted by ()
No u-curve here. The older I get the happier I get, and the more I realize how dumb I was up until now and the more surprised I am that I managed to live as long as I did. Hmm.
Downright amazing the power of introspection available to those with an IQ of 170...

__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 12:38 PM   #13
 
Posts: n/a
Re: happiness

Yes, happiness is a strange thing. *We discussed it in this thread.

The troubling thing is that if you believe that you're going to have the same level of basic happiness no matter what, then it doesn't matter if you retire, buy a nice house, make good investments, pay your income taxes, or just sit around and drink.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 12:42 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: happiness

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Downright amazing the power of introspection available to those with an IQ of 170...
Think what I could have done with 171 or 172!
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 12:45 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3,875
Re: happiness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby
This is absolutely true, as I've been coming to learn over the years.* You may find yourself in a crappy situation, but it's up to you to find the way out or to make the best of your circumstances.* The secret to happiness is not money, power or fame...it's attitude.
Yep, brainpower and willpower!

JG
__________________
MRGALT2U is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 12:51 PM   #16
Moderator Emeritus
laurence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 5,234
Re: happiness

I know I'm generally a happy person, but I know I gain some serious enjoyment from my financial independence, so obviously it's a mix of the two schools of thought in my case. I have noticed there are those who complain about their bad situation and those who do something about it, at least at my work. I'm not saying everybody in life has the opportunities I've had, but everyone I work with is on pretty much a level playing field (4 year degree, born in U.S. etc.). Some have sat where they are and gotten more bitter, and others have done something about the dead end job they were in (like desktop support) and moved up. Is this a chicken or the egg debate? Did their positive attitude get them breaks, or did lucky breaks make them happy, especially when they see others that didn't do as well?
__________________
laurence is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 12:54 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3,875
Re: happiness

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Yes, happiness is a strange thing. *We discussed it in this thread.

The troubling thing is that if you believe that you're going to have the same level of basic happiness no matter what, then it doesn't matter if you retire, buy a nice house, make good investments, pay your income taxes, or just sit around and drink.
My understanding is that Prozac produces this state in some folks
(never took it myself, bourbon is my home cure for depression) *
Anyway, I went on a fishing trip once and was warned that one of
our group had been depressed and was on Prozac, I guess in case
I noticed some funky behavior. *I never met a happier more upbeat
guy in my life. *Guess the stuff worked. *He became depressed
at least partly from a lack of warm sunny weather ( now that
I can relate to). *He bought a place in Florida and spends a lot
of time there, plus he is retired now. *Last I heard he was a happy
camper.

JG
__________________
MRGALT2U is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: happiness
Old 10-06-2005, 12:59 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Jay_Gatsby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,719
Re: happiness

Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo!
Downright amazing the power of introspection available to those with an IQ of 170...
Wait a minute. I've heard that highly-intelligent people are far more likely to be depressed than lesser intelligent people.
__________________

__________________
He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it . . . It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. -- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jay_Gatsby is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dr. Kahneman says $$$ is not happiness mickeyd FIRE and Money 23 07-03-2006 11:03 AM
Money or Happiness?!? Canadian FIRE Young Dreamers 6 06-16-2006 05:40 AM
Authentic Happiness Newsletter Caroline Life after FIRE 3 07-22-2005 02:27 PM
How NOT to buy Happiness mickj Other topics 15 06-15-2005 01:38 PM
General Happiness Level TromboneAl Other topics 26 05-29-2005 01:55 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:40 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.