Are Older People Happier? - NL-021
In the end, everyone will eventually experience that same feeling of being … old. It could be brought on by a birthday, a sickness, or an injury. For me, this thought occurred while I was ascending a hill shortly after my sixtieth birthday. My laboured breathing made me consider the issue of ageism, an issue we all can relate to but can do little to change. Ageism can affect both younger and older people, but it has a greater effect on those of us who are in the later stages of life. This is because ageism is connected to the idea that younger is always superior.
It's evident everywhere; from companies pushing 'anti-ageing' remedies to Mark Zuckerberg's claim that young people are just more intelligent'. Our world is one where ageing is seen as a malady and ageism is accepted without question.
Is it logical to revere youth? Is the belief that newer is always superior accurate? Obviously not.
It is a fact that ageing does have its unfavourable aspects. As I have grown older, I have become weaker, slower, and less energetic than before. My joints ache, and I have lost a great deal of hair. Besides, I tend to misplace my glasses or find them smudged. Moreover, with age comes susceptibility to illness.
When one ceases to worry about the negative aspects of growing old, they may discover that many aspects of life remain the same, and some even improve. It is not true that later life is depressing. Words such as 'sad', 'crotchety', and 'grumpy' are all untrue. Studies have demonstrated that humans tend to experience a "U-shaped happiness curve", which is highest in childhood, then dips in middle age before rising again. According to surveys, those over 55 often report the highest levels of happiness and satisfaction with life.
As we get older, the necessity to be considerate of the thoughts of others diminishes. Lately, I have been finding it simpler to disregard people, possessions, and patterns of behaviour and to concentrate on what is truly important to me.
Our vocabulary, general knowledge, and mastery of certain skills grows. It may take more effort to learn something new later in life, but it is still possible. The idea that only younger people can be creative is not accurate. Creativity is something that humans can possess at any age. Furthermore, certain types of creativity require two benefits that come with growing older: having more time and increased experience.
In 2017, the UK Turner Prize for visual artists made the decision to no longer have a maximum age limit of 50. This was done because creativity can be expressed and developed by anyone at any age.
As we age, productivity increases in roles that depend on social skills, since our social intelligence gets better with time. Additionally, we become better at recognizing the overall situation, considering various perspectives, and recognizing the designs that provide answers to difficult issues.
It is also true that the human body can provide outstanding services long after its peak. Consider the number of individuals who have completed marathons in their seventies, climbed mountains in their eighties, cycled cross-country in their nineties, and skydived. Of course, not everyone will be able to sustain or even emulate these ever-lasting champions, but thanks to better food, health, technology, supplements, and knowledge of how we age, we all can now strive to stay on our toes.
We must not get too caught up in the moment. Every epoch has both its advantages and disadvantages. But, an era can be delightful, as long as we accept it. We should accept the present, instead of yearning for the past and being afraid of the future.
I still worry about the passage of time and my health, my family, and my finances. But these days I no longer recoil from ageing—my own or other people’s. My age has lost the power to make me question my right to do what I want to do.