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Old and happy: like a horse and carriage
Old 08-11-2009, 03:16 PM   #1
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Old and happy: like a horse and carriage

This research suggests that older people are happiest. For males, the happiest decade is 60-69, and the least happy is 20-29.

I can see the point they make: you gain acceptance, among other things.
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Old 08-11-2009, 03:20 PM   #2
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This research suggests that older people are happiest. For males, the happiest decade is 60-69, and the least happy is 20-29.

I can see the point they make: you gain acceptance, among other things.
Is it wrong that I see an inverse correlation between happiness and the number of decades you'll probably have to still w*rk?

I can believe it about happiness in your 60s -- this is a time when many people are retired and still have (most of) their health. I'd imagine health issues cause happiness to drop in subsequent decades of life. Also I've often seen that 50s and 60s are close to the "peak" in terms of earning power and net worth for many people, so even if money can't buy happiness per se, it allows one to better pursue it by leaving Megacorp...
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 08-11-2009, 03:38 PM   #3
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Is it wrong that I see an inverse correlation between happiness and the number of decades you'll probably have to still w*rk?
I guess it makes sense if you really dislike your work.

My experience is that the same contentment seems to be settling over me even though I don't hate my work. Not sure it's quite so simple for me, though being lucky, financially OK, and healthy don't hurt and I'm grateful for that as long as they last.

The thing that resonates the most with me is acceptance of what is. It's exhausting even in your 20s to constantly change the world, convince everyone you are better than they are, attract the perfect mate, compete for jobs and everything else, and all that with barely 2 decades of life under your belt and constantly raging hormones. I like it better now.
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:50 PM   #4
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I wonder what the happiest decade is for women....
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:17 PM   #5
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I know that my 50's were the best decade of my life so far. The jury is still out concerning how happy my 60's will be, since I am only 61. Retirement should help.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:19 PM   #6
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I know that my 50's were the best decade of my life so far. The jury is still out concerning how happy my 60's will be, since I am only 61. Retirement should help.
I can't speak for women, but I know my 30s were happier than my 20s and so far, my 40s have been happier than my 30s.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 08-11-2009, 05:21 PM   #7
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I can't speak for women, but I know my 30s were happier than my 20s and so far, my 40s have been happier than my 30s.
I can even say that my teens were happier than years 0-10, and my teens were pretty doggone miserable (like they are for many of us). Things have steadily improved throughout my whole life. Well, there was a slight dip with post partum depression, but generally things have been getting better.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:23 PM   #8
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As a member of the 20-29 age group, this sounds like great news! It all gets better from here? I could understand this - in your 20's you bust your butt to finish school, get a job, get licensed/certified, get promoted, get married, buy a house, start a family, move a few times in the process, etc. It is a decade filled with change and upheaval (which are generally stressful events).
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:23 PM   #9
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I can even say that my teens were happier than years 0-10, and my teens were pretty doggone miserable (like they are for many of us). Things have steadily improved throughout my whole life.
My teens were awful, as were my early 20s. For me things abruptly turned for the better when I was 26 -- when I "met" the woman who would become my wife a few months later.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 08-11-2009, 05:31 PM   #10
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My teens were awful, as were my early 20s. For me things abruptly turned for the better when I was 26 -- when I "met" the woman who would become my wife a few months later.
Aw!! That is SO romantic. I hope she reads this.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:06 PM   #11
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This For males, the happiest decade is 60-69, and the least happy is 20-29.
I found it surprising that many posters have agreed with the statement highlighted above. I, for one, do not.

Rather, I find myself in concordance with another survey I read some time back and do not have handy to provide a reference to. Basically, it said that married people with children are most unhappy during their children's teenage years, and they regain their happiness when the children are grown. For us, the children's growing pain years coincided with the most stressful time of our careers.

In our case - I think I can speak for my wife here too - the years of 20-30 were not at all bad. We were in love, got married, bought a house, and I was making good money (for a wet-behind-the-ears engineer) for the first time.

The years of 35-45 were the most horrible years of our lives (we are of the same age). It was gradually becoming clear that my involvement with a couple of startups - first as moonlighting part-time works, then as full-time jobs - was simply a bad investment, though a life enriching experience. My wife's work with her megacorp (also one of the companies in the Dow 30) was also getting worse with the turmoil in her division. Higher managers one or two ranks above her were getting fired one after another, and no replacements could last more than a few months. When a business model no longer works, there is simply no way a change of workers or managers can turn it around. She agreed with me that perhaps it would be better for the corp just to shut down the entire division. But it dragged on with her being the manager having to lay off workers. In the end, she walked off her job. And to add to our misery with work, my eldest child was going through the teenage rebellious years. It was HELL.

Now that my children (20 & 23) seem to be past their growing pain and we have realized that despite our career failure we are not broke, it has been a lot more peaceful. Due to the LBYM approach, we still have enough to have food on the table, plus some extra money for occasional recreation activities. What else do people need?

I don't know why people have to be past 60 to start mellowing down. Too much hormone? We started when we were 45. Going downhill has been really easy; there is no pedalling involved and I am through with pedalling. Sit back, roll along and enjoy the scenery. Life is good again (knock on wood).
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:08 PM   #12
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I found it surprising that many posters have agreed with the statement highlighted above. I, for one, do not....

The years of 35-45 were the most horrible years of our lives (we are of the same age). It was gradually becoming clear that my involvement with a couple of startups - first as moonlighting part-time works, then as full-time jobs - was simply a bad investment, though a life enriching experience.
Well, I never worked for a startup and we don't have kids, so that could have a LOT to do with our different experiences...
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 08-11-2009, 07:13 PM   #13
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I have liked all of my life. My favorite so far was the 17 or 18 years or so between my first child's birth, and the beginning of the strife in my marriage, so about 35 to 53-54. I also was having some nagging health problems that started in my mid 50s.

The worst was after my last son left home and I was separated. I was going out a lot and having fun, but I was unhappy down deep.

I am pretty happy now, but not up to the period I discussed above.

I wouldn't consider marriage or a live-in relationship under any circumstances that I can imagine, but I was happiest married and with children. I really believe that I have not fully recovered from my grief about this ending.

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I'm likin' the 50s so far
Old 08-11-2009, 07:27 PM   #14
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I'm likin' the 50s so far

I believe I'm as happy now as I've ever been. The kids are grown, but they and their families live close enough to visit frequently. We all get along great.

We're getting to a good place financially and DW could ER anytime she wants to call it a career. I'm eligible in a little over 3 years, but so far the job is about as good as a job can be. Probably stay 6 to 8 years longer to top off the nest egg.

DW and I get to travel a lot and are enjoying each other's company without the busyness and distractions of the child-rearing years.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:46 PM   #15
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I'm likin' the 50s so far

Me too, hankster.

I've been FI for quite some time. In my 40's I started to branch out and finally have allowed myself approval for the changes in my life. I no longer question my actions nor do I regret my past. I look forward to new experiences and am optimistic for the future.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:52 PM   #16
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Wow, we all would write very different autobiographies.

While some of this is inherent to age, maturity and all that, it seems to me that Taleb was right in pointing out that all the planning, research and experience in the world will, in the end, play a distant second fiddle to the black swan events of our lives.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:09 PM   #17
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The point of the quoted research is that being old and being happy seem to go together.

This I agree. I am happier than I was 10 years ago. I also feel old, and much less argumentative. Politics, market efficiencies, religion, mortgage payoff? Whatever!

In the grand scheme of things, the above may not matter. Sometimes, because I am so mellow, I wonder if I am really sad. Then, I think I am simply "not mad". Some people may like to be angry because it makes them feel passionate. It makes them feel more alive. I am surprised how many people above 35 still like fast cars. No, thanks, I am sticking with my "mellowness".

So, let me make a proposal beyond the premise of the report: happiness does not necessarily correlate with age, as one simply need to "feel old".
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:35 PM   #18
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Happiness correlated with age?
Hmmmmm...I'd like to think happiness is correlated with major life events, some of which follow a natural progression as we mature.

My state of happiness has ebbed and flowed over the years. High peaks include graduating college, getting married, buying a house and becoming successful in my c*reer with 2 patent issues. Lowest peaks occurred when I lost my Mom and beloved husband within 3 years of each other. I was a wilted plant that needed water.

And of course FIRE at age 48 is something I never dreamed would happen. It is a double edged sword in some ways.

These days, I feel like I have actually recovered enough of my former zany oddball self to say I'm happy.
I look forward to the future, even though the clock has already run me past age 50. My glass is half full.
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:10 PM   #19
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I wonder what the happiest decade is for women....
...The difference in lifespan between men and women?
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:14 PM   #20
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...The difference in lifespan between men and women?
For some I imagine it could be darlin'.....
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