At 41, I’m Pretty Happy
As it turns out, a large number of statistics that aren’t made up don’t really provide much help, either.
The Pew Research Center says that men are happiest over age 65 and that we are least happy in our 20’s. Friends Reunited says that people are happiest at age 33. A Gallup poll from 2009 said that men are least happy in their 50’s and late 80’s, but a different Gallup poll from 2008 claimed that people are happiest at 85. This last result agrees with a report from the National Academy of Sciences, which states that people are most depressed at age 44, as shown by the U-bend happiness curve below:
Well, shoot. With all this conflicting information, how will I know when to be happy? Until I get this all sorted out, I’ll just have to keep doing the activities that make people happiest. (Are you really surprised by the first item on that list?)
Jean Jacques Rousseau once defined happiness as follows:
Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.
But I would define it thus:
Happiness: a sharp pencil and some paper, a good problem, and a quiet place with some time to think.
It has been said that happiness adds and multiplies, as we divide it with others. But let’s not forget how subtraction can bring happiness, too…
Some people bring happiness wherever they go. But you? You bring happiness whenever you go.
[Update, 4/13/12: When I checked into a Comfort Inn hotel last night, I was given a bag with fresh cookies. On the outside it said:
Happiness is a warm chocolate chip cookie.
That might be the best definition yet!]