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old age at Rotchild BLVD

Definition: Old People — human beings over 50.

What?!  “No!” you say, “50 is middle-aged!”  Well, if you’re pretty sure you’ll live to be 100, then I guess you’re right.  Actually, with the average death rate being around 78-81, I figure middle-age would be around 36-40.5.  Who ever thought when they were 36 that they were middle-aged?  As a person who falls into the old person category, I would much rather have been middle-aged a while longer!

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But this isn’t about that, anyway.  It’s about an article that was published in the February/March issue of AARP magazine (and also can be seen at their website here) about the things that promote and prolong happiness and some that even appear to add years to a person’s life span.

And what advantage is there to reading about what makes a person happier and live longer from a magazine geared toward old people?  Because when older people and older people’s families are researched, the information is based on something that has already happened.  There is no speculation about how long a person lived after doing such-and-such, or how much happier a person was when they did such-and-such — it’s tried-and-true fact.  Old people have lived it and seen first-hand what works and what doesn’t.  Families can look back and say, “Yeah, Grandpa/Grandma/Aunt Jane lived to be 101 and here’s the way they lived…”  As younger people, it is only a guess what will work for us in the long run if we don’t have all this wealth of information from people who have been there and done that.

A few highlights from the article stated some interesting statistics and even a few surprising facts about happiness and living longer.

  • HappinessGivers are happier — Several studies have shown that people who give to others tend to be happier than people who don’t.  One study showed that people who were given money and spent it on something for themselves were less happy than those who gave it to someone else.  And there are many other ways to give of oneself that don’t even involve money.
  • Ignore the boob tube — The happiest people watch one hour or less of television a day.  The very goal of much of what is seen on television is designed to make us want things that we don’t already have, not to mention that it takes our time away from friends and family.
  • Strengthen your network of friends and family — Getting a dose of a strong social network, including family, helps increase happiness.  Choosing the right friends makes a difference as well.  A Harvard study found that for every happy friend a person has, happiness increases 9% — for every unhappy friend, happiness decreases 7%.
  • Married people live longer — Multiple studies have shown this to be the case, but married people are also happier than unmarried people.
  • Churchgoers are happier — Research shows that people who live in a faith-based community have less stress and live an average of 7 years longer than those who don’t.

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Those are just a few of the points the AARP article made — it’s a good read and worth looking at, no matter what your age.  I’m glad I didn’t have to wait until I was 70 to find all this stuff out.  I want to be happy now!  Lol, and I wouldn’t mind doing whatever I can to be here with my loved ones a little longer as well!