U-turns have been around forever; U-Haul almost as long. U-Tube is here to stay. But U-Happiness is a whole new U.
According to Professors David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald (of Dartmouth and University of Warwick respectively) in their paper "Is Well-Being U-shaped over the Life Cycle?," happiness is a U-shaped curve with the tops of the "U" (the happiest times) being ages 20 and 70. Middle age falls at the bottom of the "U," meaning that middle age is when people seem pretty unhappy. The authors asked 500,000 people in the U.S. and Europe about their well-being at that moment and the results were quite similar, no matter where the question was asked.
So I am pondering this. Was I happy at 20? I sure laughed a lot more then, if that means anything. In my 40's? Honestly, my 40's were a blur of carpools and soccer games and Rice-Krispy-chicken dinners. In hindsight, I'd do my 40's again, but maybe only because hindsight is blind to the bad parts.
Now that I am 70 and am thinking a lot about how I am feeling about life, I have to admit that "happy" is a good description of my current state of well-being.
As is very, very "lucky".