You hear it all the time — that life begins at age 40. But if you’ve heard of The Happiness Curve you’d understand that those aged 50 and up are the ones who are truly enjoying life. The happiness curve is described in detail in a book of the same name by author, Jonathan Rauch. It defines a U-shaped curve where happiness occurs first in our twenties, then typically takes a nose-dive in our thirties and forties, and then reclaims its happy, high place at age 50+. Rauch makes a compelling argument that life does indeed get better after age 50. To better understand why and how that is, let’s break it down by age group.
In your twenties, you have a lot of hopes and dreams. You see it as a time of opportunity and have an optimistic outlook on the future. It’s not uncommon to have some fairly extravagant expectations, so many in this age group shoot for ambitious goals and are excited about the future.
As you approach middle age, your previously enthusiastic outlook on life has become a bit marred. By now you’ve been thrown a few curve balls, and even if things are going reasonably well, most of us have grown more disillusioned with our careers and our lives overall. At this age, many have taken on a tremendous amount of responsibility, especially when it comes to work and family, yet feel like there’s no time to get everything done. Overall, there’s less control and more stress at this point in life.
In your early forties, you begin to feel an ever-growing sense of dissatisfaction — sort of a mid-life slump. You wonder if there is more to life than “this.” You wonder if you’ve missed out on certain things and if you’re running out of time to experience and do all the fun stuff that you dreamed about doing in your twenties. Feeling stuck, depression can easily set in, and it’s often around this age when people do impulsive, seemingly irrational things. Mid-life crises are not uncommon.
At age 50, most people start seeing the light and realize that life is actually pretty good. The myriad responsibilities begin to diminish. the kids have flown the coop, careers have peaked, and there’s less of a desire to climb that steep corporate ladder. Quite simply, you’ve mellowed — becoming more resigned, realistic, and happy with the cards you’ve been dealt. Optimism increases and most importantly, it’s a time where people learn to place things like relationships, family, friendships, and community ahead of more selfish desires. They begin a deeper dive into life’s meaning and purpose. “What’s going on is a value transition,” Rauch says. “You’re in a better place because your values have shifted away from ambitions and the social competition treadmill and towards social connection, cooperation, love, friendship — much better sources of happiness.”
Those sources of happiness are critical for those over the age of 50. Living in a place that helps you to gain social capital and foster those vital connections with wonderful people does a lot for living the good life and your happiness overall. We know how important your well-being is here at Soleil. That’s why we offer so many opportunities for people in our 55+ community to be active, make friends, and enjoy life to the fullest. We like to say, “It’s the life you’ve worked your whole life to enjoy.” If you are age 55+ and want to experience the top of the happiness curve, then we invite you to come experience Soleil’s incomparable array of recreation, culture, and entertainment for yourself. Contact us today.