The cover story in the year-end edition of The Economist was entitled: "The U-Bend of Life: why, beyond middle age, people get happier as they get older." Personally, I was more captivated by the abbreviated title: "Why Life Begins at 46." Ever hopeful, I snatched up a copy!
Very simply, the thesis is that the bottom of the "U" is the well-known phenomenon of the midlife crisis and that, after working through their acceptance that dreams will likely not be fulfilled, people become happier. Ironically, the explanations for this phenomenon range from the downright depressing ("unhappy people die early") to the somewhat less depressing ("because the old know they are closer to death…they grow better at living for the present"). As noted by the author, such studies of happiness have given rise to such policy initiatives as Bhutan‘s Gross National Happiness ("GNH") assessment.
The U-Bend Thesis is an enticing prospect for those of us in their mid-forties who have heretofore preferred denial to getting older. And, in closing, it seems fitting to repeat a famous quote attributed to Maurice Chevalier that appears in the article: "Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative."
Have a great weekend.
David M. Smith – Click here for more information on David Smith.
There is no question that mental illness for the afflicted and families can be devastating. The Globe and Mail helps to address the national scale of these illnesses in its recent excellent series entitled “Breakdown: Canada’s Mental Health Crisis”.
The overwhelming huge reader response speaks for itself.
To be sure, there is not much cheer to be found and much heartache, mitigated only somewhat by some success stories. The ability of some families to pull together in awful circumstances can also offer inspiration to others.
Thanks for reading.