These facts about getting older aren’t just interesting – they’d be great in retirement speeches, anniversary toasts, or even wedding speeches! Aging research shows that getting older improves your personality traits and improves your happiness levels.
“At the age of 20, we don’t care what the world thinks of us; at 30, we worry about what it is thinking of us; at 40, we discover that it wasn’t thinking of us at all.”
That’s one benefit of getting older: you worry less about what people think because you realize they’re rarely thinking of you at all! But if you’re aging gracefully, then you really are improving with age. You may be positively affecting more people and have a better disposition than when you were young.
1. Personality traits improve as you get older
Being productive, having good interpersonal skills, and acting compassionately towards others are signs of good psychological heath.
The good news – and the interesting fact about aging – is that these traits steadily increase after you hit age 30. Psychologists from the University of California at Berkeley studied the Big Five Personality Traits and overall life span trends; they found that personalities, like wine, improve over time. Conscientiousness and agreeableness (warmth, generosity, and helpfulness) are personality traits that improve with age, making your life and relationships more enjoyable. Let this be an anti-aging tip — you really are improving as you get older!
2. Divorce affects whether you’ll be cared for later
Divorces, widowhood and remarriage change the likelihood that your children will be involved in your twilight years.
“It’s not the divorce itself that affects the quality of the parent-child relationship,” says Adam Davey, a gerontologist at Temple University in Philadelphia. “It’s what happens afterwards, such as geographical separation.” He found that marital disruptions earlier in a child’s life are less detrimental. Whether or not you’re divorced, staying geographically close to your kids may increase feelings of support and happiness as you get older. Though you may not have total control, you can stay young by giving and getting support from close friends or other relatives.
If the worst part of getting older is being alone, read How to Cope With Being Alone in Your Old Age.
3. Well-being is U-shaped over a typical lifespan
“A typical individual’s happiness reaches its minimum – on both sides of the Atlantic and for both males and females – in middle age,” say University of Warwick researchers David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald.
People are generally most happy towards the beginning and end of their lives; the probability of depression peeks at around age 40 for women and age 50 for men. Why? The exact reason is unknown, but these researchers speculate that people learn to accept their strengths and weaknesses as they get older.
To enjoy getting older, focus on the natural happiness that approaches with age.
4. Older people are happier and calmer
Sociology professors Catherine Ross and John Mirowsky (from the University of Texas at Austin) evaluated 1,450 responses to a General Social Survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center.
Ross and Mirowsky found that successful aging is connected to passive, positive emotions – such as contentment and ease. “Emotions that are both active and negative, such as anxiety and anger, are especially unlikely among the elderly,” says Ross.
5. Men, income, and education levels make getting older easier
Beginning at age 60, men report more positive, active emotions than women. Men and women of all ages who have higher income and education levels experience “significantly more positive emotions” than those with lower income and education levels. To enjoy getting older, focus on your positive emotions — not the negative ones.
If a man is no longer part of your life – you’re a widow – read Starting Over in Your 60s – After Your Husband Dies.
If you have any thoughts on these interesting facts about getting older from aging research, I welcome you below…