The crisis of the 40s does not seem like a myth. The crisis of the 40s has been located in very different cultures, so it does not seem to be something inherent in modern societies. That is, the relationship between age and happiness is U-shaped .
Fortunately, little by little, and in some cases, we will start to be more and more happy starting at 40, year after year, until we reach 70 and beyond. However, if we look back, in retrospect, then the data is different: in the first years after we entered our thirties is when we were at our best .
Only Europeans have been asked
The data for this recently published study come from SHARELIFE 2008/09, a retrospective life survey conducted in 13 European countries among people aged 50 and over .
With this information, a longitudinal data set was constructed that spans the entire life span of the respondents. The results show that the probability of living the happiest period of life exhibits a concave relationship with age, with an inflection point around 30-34 years and a decreasing trend thereafter.
The relationship between the probability of living the happiest year of life and age presents an inverted U shape , with an inflection point in the age of 30 to 34 years and a constant downward trend until the most advanced ages.
Interestingly, few older Europeans remember childhood as the happiest period in life (even those belonging to non-wartime cohorts), corresponding to the hardships of the first half of the 20th century in Europe. In retrospect, the midlife crisis is less apparent than in studies based on current happiness assessments of current happiness .
On average, this stage of life is considered to be neither the least nor the most likely to be the happiest period in an individual’s life. The pattern is similar for men and women, and fairly consistent across cohorts and countries.
The study also contributes to the literature on aging . As mentioned above, the literature shows that memory plays an important role in setting preferences and therefore decisions. Therefore, analyzing how older people remember the past and developing their trajectories of happiness throughout life can help to learn how they perceive aging.