Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Via Lex… we learn that “Happiness Is ... Being Old, Male and Republican.” Well, shit, Virginia… isn’t that OBVIOUS? The first few grafs:

Americans grow happier as they age, surveys find. And a new Pew Research Center survey shows the tendency is holding up as the economy tanks.

Happiness is a complex thing. Past studies have found that happiness is partly inherited, that Republicans are happier than Democrats, and that old men tend to be happier than old women.

And even before the economy got nasty, seniors were found to be generally happier than Baby Boomers. Some of that owes to the American Dream being lived by past generations, while Boomers work two jobs and watch the dream wither.

In times like this, it's clear how age can have its advantages. While not all seniors are weathering the recession well, for many the impact is much less severe than it is for younger people.

Why? Many people 65 and older retired and downsized their lifestyles before the economy imploded, according to Pew analysts.

I’d probably modify that Republican thing to say “conservative,” mainly coz I’m not too pleased with the state of the GOP these days, and I should note that at age 64+ I’m just outside that 65-year old envelope. But on the whole it’s hard for me to argue with the premise(s) made in the article. I’m finding the downsized life just peachy, don’t have any financial issues to speak of (which is a direct correlation between my expectations/desires and my means, IMHO), and enjoy my independence almost TOO much.

If all that sounds suspiciously like a self-congratulatory load of bollocks, then so be it. It’s the truth… swear to the-deity-at-hand.


  1. As I said at Lex's place, I do find this a little - odd.

    Since it is my experience that as we all get older - especially as we hit the 40s, we get more settled in our lives - we know what we want and how to get it, we know who we are and where we are going. We've likely reached that point in our careers where we know what we are doing and are quite happy to do it.

    I've heard this from friends and coworkers who are also in their 40s.

    Which makes me wonder why someone had to do that kind of survey? Or am I just being obtuse.

    It's possible. It's a gorgeous sunny day here and I'm totally distracted by the sunbeams coming thru the windows behind me.

  2. 18 more years to go to 65... I'm happy.

    Happier than twenty years ago. Same for thirty years gone by.

  3. When I was 30 and started consulting, I read a kind of tongue-in-cheek book about consulting and a "rule" that was both funny and life changing for me was:

    "Once you solve problem #1, problem #2 becomes problem #1", i.e. there is always something and it woke me up to the fact that I might consider enjoying/being happy, today, whatever the problem of the day was.

    And I took the opportunities I had, made a few of my own and followed my own heart. I still have dreams, but I am very happy, very content in the midst of working on those...enjoying the journey.

    But, I think that like everyone else, the level of comfortableness/contentment/happiness with who I am and the consequences of my choices, deepens as I get older - no amount or lack of "stuff" will change that though.

  4. I'm a mere 43, but I'm male and conservative (not happy with the Republicans either). I find that in this stage of my life, I am happier than at any previous time, so there must be something too it.

  5. Once you figure out that by living within one's means usually eliminates alot of the stress; and that it's really not important what others might think of you as long as you like yourself; and that life is too short to be miserable... well then, happiness is attainable at any age! (Usually we don't figure these things out until we get older and wiser though... I suppose) ;)

  6. How about that overtime win?

    We were up till 1030! Gettin' too old...

  7. Kris: I think everyone agrees there's a positive correlation between age and happiness, but that's not always true... look at our stereotypes about "crotchety old men" and the like. The supporting links in the story were pretty interesting, tho, dontcha think?

    Darryl: You have a good life, Bud! I'd be happy were I you, too!

    Ann: It's hard to beat living in the present as a philosophy. OTOH, that's hard for some people... I've known more than a few folks who thought happiness was always just around the corner... whether it was the next promotion, the next house, when the kids finally leave, etc., etc.

    Buckskins: "Life begins at 40!" All clichés have a kernel of truth, eh? Looking back on things, I have to say my 40s were pretty danged good, too.

    Alison: I agree with you on all counts. But some lucky souls get there sooner than others.

    Darryl: As I told SN1... almost TOO much excitement! (I also told him "all's well that ends well," btw)

  8. Interesting study and I agree pretty much ... EXCEPT that it has not been my experience that old men are happier than old women.

    My experience personally, among my circle of family, friends and acquaintances, and professionally - many years of taking care of geriatric patients -- is that old woman in most cases are better able to handle events and stresses of daily life than old men, they stay healthier, and they seem to find more things to do.

    Maybe my experience is not that of everyone ... it certainly doesn't seem to agree with the results of the poll.

  9. I read Latchkey Man who writes about the differences in Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y. He points out all sorts of studies. I have come to the decsion that those studies are all just BS. Maybe there are some general truths, but it is ridiculous to lump everyone into - well, a lump.

  10. Lou: The terrible thing is a lot of these "studies" are paid for with tax money. That adds tangible insult to psychic injury.

  11. Sharon: You probably have more direct experience than any survey-builder or administrator. Then again, aren't you talking about the TRULY old, as in 80 or so? I'm thinking... my gut feeling... is that things would tend to even out between the sexes as our health starts to fade.

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