Word-Of-the-Week #614: U-bend

May 12, 2016 by  

U-bend – the trajectory of life from youth to old age.

At this stage of your life how happy are you? Do you feel overwhelmed by all of your obligations? Or do you feel pretty content with your life ?

This is the follow up to last week’s article written by Michele Parente in the UT. “Age of the aged: New movement embraces growing old.” She continues “What surprised me was how everything I thought I know about aging was wrong.” Statistics show a minute portion of elderly live in nursing homes, with about 95% of Americans living independently. And she noted that while memory will moderately falter for most, about 20% of older people experience no decline at all in memory.

“Things slow us down, but it doesn’t keep the vast, vast majority of us from functioning just fine. The epidemic isn’t dementia; it’s the anxiety about dementia.”

The U-bend theory contends that people are happiest at the beginning of their lives and toward the end. Statistically, the happiest decade is the 70’s. It takes a long time to get things right…In your 70’s, you’re not under occupational pressure, not sweating the promotion, likely not sitting under a house mortgage, worrying about how you’re going to pay for kids going to college. You’re in relatively good health. There’s a lower level of obligation, you have the ability to choose your own path.

a u-bend

When you’re young, emotions fluctuate. If we lose a job or go through a breakup, we get overwhelmed. U-bend says people are happiest in the 20’s to 30’s and in their 70’s and 80’s.

The source of this bliss is wisdom, which is nature’s way to compensate for physical decline. Our emotional regulation increases. If something happens when we’re older, we can say, ‘yes, it’s bad, but it’s happened before and I’ll get through it.’ We’re more resilient, more compassionate toward others, we know ourselves better than when we were younger.

This week’s focus is on the U-bend theory. Where are you at this point of your life? Are you comfortable? Are you feeling stressed? Can you see yourself embracing the aging process and knowing that with that comes wisdom?

And for the record, I totally embrace my resignation and denial! But I am selective, as I stopped coloring my hair 10 years ago. As I see it, it’s a huge waste of time and money and who’s kidding who? But that is a very personal choice and I get it!

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