It can be hard to accept the changes our minds and bodies go through as we age, but a community of seniors has come together to show that happiness is more than attainable in our golden years.
A 40-something-year-old sought the wisdom and guidance of the seniors, taking to the online Reddit community Ask Old People, to understand the experience of happiness in old age.
“Are you more happy now than when you were younger?,” they asked.
Older Reddit users flooded the comment section to show that with age comes positive changes and more happiness than one could hope for.
“Oh my god, so infinitely happier. Like 20 or even 30 year old me could not possibly have even dreamed up how good I feel on a daily basis, even in my unspoken dreams. There was so much shame and frustration in my early years trying to make other people happy. Now I don’t give a fuck (I’m nice to everyone, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t care for their expectations any more) and my life has turned in a happily ever after,” one user wrote.
“I’m more okay with accepting that life isn’t going to be some idealized picture of happiness. Maybe that’s happier. Maybe it’s just getting older, and letting go of some of my own unrealistic expectations about happiness,” said another.
Many of the seniors responding felt that ageing brought a sense of freedom from worry due to fewer responsibilities and concern for financial support.
“Happy is a fleeting thing. Now at 75, I am more contented, enjoy living, the people around me, my way of life and the new country I live in, with reasonably good health. Life is simple, I need very little to live on and have a pension that allows me to save more than half of it for a “rainy day” or emergencies,” one person said.
“Yes. My early days were hard and mean and I never had enough. Worked hard & things got better slowly – two steps forward and 1 step back. Finally I have enough – which is enough for me.”
“Yeah. When I was young, I wanted autonomy and to live a life generally free of bullshit. It took years to build the financial and emotional stability to have options. Also years to figure out what would make me happy, not just not unhappy. Now things are pretty great,” one person commented.
A study conducted in the UK called Measuring National Well-being: At what age is Personal Well-being the highest? found that those aged between 65-79 were the happiest and the unhappiest age group was between 45-59.
The feeling of happiness has a multitude of benefits for the human mind and body, it’s reported to lower the risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease and blood pressure.