Older People are Happier

There are many articles and much research that confirm the premise that we get happier as we age. Here are a couple—one recent one sent by a friend about remarkable women over 70, and a favorite TEDtalk by Laura Carstensen .

Indeed it has been true in my experience. As I age I succeed more often in letting go of what the Jesuits call “disordered attachments.” Some attachments that have occupied my list are:

Caring too much about the good opinion of others

Believing that my way is the “right way”

Judging people or circumstances too soon, too harshly, too narrowly…

Judging myself too harshly (wanting to make things perfect)

Thinking I can “earn” joy

It has been a journey to reframe these and other limiting beliefs in ways that are much more life giving and lead me to consistent happiness and joy. I now most often:

Detach from the comparison game or spending any time thinking/worrying about what others think of me—and boy has it led me to richer relationships—in my family, in my work, in my community

Stay curious about people, their path, their beliefs

Embrace my and others’ imperfections with gratitude and light-heartedness (most of the time)

Remain present in this moment noticing the gifts in all experiences

Today I am happy for the gift of this Winter Wonderland we are experiencing in Seattle and the time it offers to reflect and write.

What are the gifts you are celebrating today?

Paula Fitzgerald Boos