When you’re in your 20s and just starting out, money and fame may seem the key to a happy life. But as you age, that viewpoint changes considerably. The real secret, according to a Harvard study that’s been going on since the 1930s, has nothing to do with your bank account or your career.
Anyone who has never been in the middle of an ocean surrounded by an eternity of waves can ever imagine how lonely it can be. Time has no meaning and distance is a dream on an empty sea, whether you're on a cruise ship, a troop ship, a battle ship or a canoe. It's all the same in a cosmic vision. The ocean is a metaphor for loneliness.
Who do you think is lonelier - adults in their mid to late 40s or adults age 70 and older? One might surmise that the older folks have experienced more loss of loved ones, diminished physical or mental abilities and/or are less active, which could lead to increased loneliness. Counter to what many people think, folks ages 45-49 are lonelier than those 70 years and older according to our research (43% vs. 25%, respectively). In fact, older people are happier than younger folks. In our recent happiness research, people experienced their lowest levels of happiness in their early 50s, and their happiness steadily increased with age.
Q: I just turned 60, have been divorced for seven years and have not dated anyone. I am really lonely. I work full time and have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ), which sometimes requires me to use oxygen. I am scared and embarrassed about possibly having to use oxygen on a date. Since being diagnosed, I have lost all my self-confidence. How might I start the dating process? If think if I put my COPD out there, I won't be successful meeting anyone.
I received word the other day that a long-time acquaintance had died. We had worked together in the beginning years of my newspaper career, and while we hadn't been that close, he nonetheless had represented a link in a circle of friends that was growing smaller every year. I was losing my history.
Movie star Greta Garbo was famous for saying, "I want to be let alone," but new research suggests that's a rotten philosophy to follow if you want to live longer.
Q: I'm married and lonely. My husband, age 68, has his own business, works six days a week with 10- to 12-hour days, and is recovering from prostate cancer surgery, with a low testosterone count.
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