Golden Years January 29, 2008Posted by Michael in Science.
Have you noticed that Retired Geezer seems like a relentlessly cheerful fellow? He is so darn good-natured that you just want to smack him sometimes.
Well, I do anyway.
A recent study suggests that this may be age-related, and that middle age tends to be depressing world wide. Fifteen years ago, Geezer was probably just as crabby as I am.
LONDON – Middle age is truly miserable, according to a study using data from 80 countries showing that depression is most common among men and women in their 40s.The British and U.S. researchers found that happiness for people ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe follows a U-shaped curve where life begins cheerful before turning tough during middle age and then returning to the joys of youth in the golden years.
Previous studies have shown that psychological well-being remained flat throughout life but the new findings to be published in the journal Social Science & Medicine suggest we are in for a topsy-turvy emotional ride.
You start pulling out of the middle age funk in your fifties. Whew. The worst is over for me. That’s good to know.
The report only speculates regarding the reason for this.
“It happens to men and women, to single and married people, to rich and poor, and to those with and without children,” Oswald said. “Nobody knows why we see this consistency.”
One possibility may be that people realize they won’t achieve many of their aspirations at middle age, the researchers said. Another reason could be that after seeing their fellow middle-aged peers begin to die, people begin to value their own remaining years and embrace life once more.
It seems to me that the researchers have overlooked the most obvious hypothesis that would explain this phenomenon.
You look in the mirror one day and see someone your parents age. That bums everyone out.