What can the most experienced humans in our society teach us about happiness?
Older people really do become wiser. The Economist notes that older people are better at resolving conflict, controlling their emotions, accepting misfortune, and keeping their calm. According to Stanford psychology professor Dr. Laura Carstensen, “the old know they are closer to death…they grow better at living for the present. They come to focus on things that matter now—such as feelings—and less on long-term goals.”
This makes sense to me. I’ll be 55 years old in a few months. I still have many exciting hopes, dreams, and plans for the rest of my life. But I no longer expect that some day I’ll be a journalist on TV’s 60 Minutes, the U.S. ambassador to France, or a U.S. Supreme Court justice. Even though I have a coveted MBA degree from Stanford, I will never be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a founder of a cutting edge Silicon Valley startup, or a billionaire. Believe it or not, I once considered all of these accomplishments as possible goals for myself.
Photo above courtesy of Lisa Fotios from Pexels