There’s a very interesting section in today’s LA Times regarding aging and happiness. It basically reports that as we get older, we tend to be happier, in particular in our much later years. It goes on to say that the average 75 year-old is much happier and more content with their life than the average 25 year-old. Personally, I’d find it difficult to find anyone over the age of 30 that wouldn’t be happier or more self-confident than the average 25 year-old.
Now I am far from the age bracket that they’re talking about, but some of it that article really rang true to me. They state that “older people are less likely to be caught up in their emotions and more likely to focus on the positive, ignoring the negative.” This is so true, even for my age. I will go out of my way to avoid certain people and certain activities and discussions that are dealing in negative crap. In the past (and the not-so-distant past as well), this has cost me relationships, but I’ve always been able to look back and realize that it’s usually for the best. Thing is, I learned that if I’m so busy trying to play along with someone’s game or am constantly listening to people tear others apart so that they can feel better, or even tear themselves down so that someone, anyone can regularly build them up (we all know at least one of those) it gets old and it just brings me down and keeps me wallowing down there with them.
Dealing with that sort of thing is like playing in mud all day, even once you wash off, you’ll still find stains and dirty residue in the strangest of places. Who would want to live like that day after day after day? I’m all for moving up and moving on. I’ve always been bit of a Pollyanna (just ask my friends) and I’m the type that would much rather focus on how to do some good in the world, or how to help someone, then to sling mud. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no angel. Like I’ve said, I too have gotten sucked into the negativity from time to time, gossiped with the best of them and wallowed along in my own misery when life seems to suck. But really, who hasn’t? The thing is, no one has to stay there.
The article goes on to say “that older people experience negative emotion less often and recover from it more quickly.” Again, not that this is my demographic, but haven’t you noticed that as you do get older you get more settled and confident in your work situations and interactions. There’s more confidence in your relationships. You suddenly realize that you can avoid those people that annoy you or rub you the wrong way, be it in the family, at work, or even with friendships and you move on to a better, healthier, more comfortable and content place.
It seems that quite often, instead of applauding our peers for moving forward and making changes, we throw rocks at them, pick away at their weakness, start playing passive-aggressive games and in some cases, start stalking them. Why even bother to make a public display of saying that someone is no longer in your life all while you’re thinking up ways to create still more negativity and drama around them? Even so, why go and search them out? Why do you care? Do you really care what is going on in their life or what they’re saying? Will this voyeuristic window into their life change the person that you are or how you interact with others? Or is it really just all about you?
Some people just can’t seem to except that things change, that relationships change. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all experienced it at one point or another. How many people are still friends with their childhood BFF, their college roommate or even their first friend from their first job? How many of us, as adults, are still absolutely heartbrokenly crushed over that first romantic relationship having ended. Still? There’s nothing wrong with growing apart, it happens to everyone at one point of another.
Change is good people. Don’t fight it. Find peace in knowing that as you get older, these little things won’t bother you so much. Stop dwelling in the negativity and the relationships in your life that bring you down and just let it go. I promise you, you’ll be in a much better place and you’ll feel so much more content and dare I say it, happy.