Thoroughly ensconced in middle age, my friends and I typically marvel at the youth fixation that abounds in this country — that’s because we all know a well-kept secret. Life after 49 is pretty darn good. In fact, studies show that women are the happiest in their sixties, while women in their forties are more likely to be depressed than any other female demographic.
I have a running list of why life at fifty and beyond has such a plethora of positive things going on, here are a few on a list I will likely add do as time marches on:
- Experience has proven to us, time and time again, that “this too shall pass.” We’re often told this throughout our lives, especially within the context of a negative circumstance. But it’s also true about the highs in life — this truism keeps life from being a roller coaster of one-off events — both the positives, such as the birth of our children, and the sad one, such as losing a loved one. Time is the great equalizer, when it comes to emotional stasis.
- We care less and less about what other people think of us. Quite frankly, it’s none of our business unless they (themselves) choose to tell us. Besides that, people are so consumed with their own lives that if they give us more than a passing thought they’re probably stalkers.
- There’s life (lots of it) after parenting. I have a feeling that the reason women are more likely to be depressed in their forties is that they’re still in the throes of heavy duty parenting, either with teenagers in the home, or with younger children who demand a lot of us, both physically and emotionally. But, once the kids are grown, there are numerous horizons out there for us to follow.
- We’ve figured out that we’re not supposed to have all of the answers to life’s biggest questions. Regardless of whether or not you’re a person of faith (I happen to be) or not, there’s no other logical assumption. If you aren’t a person of faith and you believe we’re solely the products of an evolutionary process, then we haven’t evolved to the point where we understand all there is to know about our own existence.
- The good guys don’t always win the battle, but they ultimately win the war. Think “Dr. Martin Luther King.”