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Does happiness get harder as we get older? One man's journey through his mid-life slump

Oct 18 2018

After aging out of a years-long period of ennui in his 40’s, writer Jonathan Rauch turned to empirical research to explain why he inexplicably grew out of his overwhelming dissatisfaction of a successful life. His book, “The Happiness Curve; Why Life Gets Better After 50”, takes a deep dive into how aging contributes positively to our happiness and emotional well-being. He details learning about how our ambitions can serve to undermine our happiness, and that midlife is often an opportunity for recalibration. His review of the literature shows that only six factors can explain almost 75% of well-being. But his most startling finding was from Stanford University psychologist Laura Carstensen and seven colleagues, who discovered that "the peak of emotional life may not occur until well into the seventh decade"—a finding that is "often met with disbelief in both the general population and the research community."