If you ask some people, the Golden Years are not always all that golden. And yet, for most of the seniors I work with and work on, life seems to hold a little more joy than for people my own age.
Even I, who am not yet officially a senior citizen, am at times much happier than I was when I was younger. Raising a child, caring for my Mom, and acting as surrogate mother to so many was at times rewarding and also stressful. The obligation of supporting a big home, filling it with food and furnishings to take care of all those people was no small task.
Studies have proven that people are generally happier in their 50s and beyond than in their younger years. A recent survey of more than 340,000 people published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed feelings of stress, worry and anger dropped significantly as people passed middle age, while happiness and enjoyment levels increased.
Similarly, an article in Psychology Today says that research on different age groups in the United Kingdom showed that people over 60 were the happiest age group, with happiness starting to rise after age 50. A recent worldwide survey reported similar results, with people who were in good health in their 70s being as happy and mentally healthy as 20-year-olds.
Why? Psychology Today speculates that it may be partly because older age people face less stress and responsibility. They may no longer be climbing the career ladder or facing the emotional and financial struggles of parenthood. There are also those of us who figure out that certain material things are not as necessary as we once thought. We have also figured out that worrying about things just makes us more tired.
Truly, it shows that the golden years actually can be golden as you leave behind the day to day grind, the worry and the stress. Leaving those to the younger generations will transform the years between 50 and 80 into some of the best days of your life. Enjoying what you have built, your family, your legacy and the fruits of years of your labor.