I’m putting a flyer together for my upcoming talk at the KGB Bar, and ran it past a colleague who’s a designer. She got halfway through the headline—“a monologue about why Americans are so ambivalent about growing old”—and blurted, “I’m not ambivalent about it!”
“How do you feel about getting old?” I asked.
“Do you want to die young?” Stephanie shook her head.
“Then you’re ambivalent.” D’oh.
It’s likely that at 37 she’s simply too young to feel better about what the future holds, as a story the New York Times newly launched Booming blog suggests. Titled “Why Am I Getting Mellower?”, it quotes new evidence, anecdotal and otherwise, that we get better at emotional regulation as we age: calmer, less aggravated, more content. A few commenters cast this as resignation, but I think it’s further corroboration for the U-shaped happiness curve, which rises steeply from age 50 on.