Cheer Up, It’s About To Get Worse

I just learned about a study across 72 countries about age and happiness and it turns out there’s a huge trough from roughly 35 to 44. Great news for me and my core friends who are all closer in age than non-twin siblings can be.

And I was looking forward to 35 too because as a dude (which 2/3 of my core friends are as well) under 35 we’re most likely to die by violence or accident but over 35 it switches to the big 3 where we’re most likely to die by cancer, Alzheimer’s, or heart disease and those are things you can prevent with daily habits.

But no. Statistically I can expect to be more depressed for the next decade and having spent my entire life up to this point being severely, suicidally depressed that’s just, well, that’s depressing.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel though that all the people studied turned sharply upward after 44 and mostly got happier and happier until the end of days. Statistically speaking the happiest age to be is 82. So get stoked.

It’s not talked about in what I read but I wonder if there’s survivor bias in there. Like, all the unhappy people kept dying (which is true, loneliness is more deadly than smoking according to a different study) and therefore the study only included the survivors. Would they be grateful they survived or did they survive because they’re grateful? A hard study to design.

But it all got summed by Jim Jefferies a long time before this study. He talks about what he learned from his elderly father is that you just have to out live your depression. When you’re young (and this part is echoed in the discussion of the study I read) you think you’re going to get all these wonderful things like a fulfilling career and a wonderful partner and then you don’t. Pause for laughter. But eventually you look around and go it’s not that bad though.

In the grand scheme we know there’s two kinds of unhappy people, those who got what they wanted and those who didn’t. And it’s because happiness when you’re young is about purpose and you lose purpose either way. Happiness when you’re older is, seemingly and probably, about small gratitudes and that sort of lame shit.

So get miserable because you’re going to cheer up.

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