It’s a common belief that older adults are always tired, grumpy and unhappy. Movies, TV commercials and late night punch lines reinforce the stereotype that older adults are hapless buffoons with nothing better to do than yell “Get off of my lawn!” They also prefer to complain endlessly about their physical ailments to anyone who will listen. This is largely a myth. While physical and cognitive decline are a natural part of the aging process, the truth of aging is very different than popular culture would have us believe.
Humans are actually the happiest at the early and late times of their lives. Stanford’s Laura Carstensen calls it The Happiness Curve — or the U-Curve of Happiness — and she’s spent over three decades researching the topic. Head of the Stanford Center on Longevity, Carstensen’s research on happiness found that older adults were actually happier overall than at any other time in their life since childhood. They are happier than their teenage years, their 20’s and 30’s, happier even than when they became wealthy and successful.
This book tells the story through the hilarious and poignant memoir of Lynn Ruth Miller, and makes the case we get better with age, that the best is yet to come.