Do you know that more than half of Americans over age 70 “view their financial situation as excellent or very good”(1)? An interesting conclusion considering the average median income for that age group is less than half of what they made in their forties when adjusted for inflation(2). No, this isn’t a financial post, but these paradoxical findings are a terrific example of how you make yourself happy. Money and health are the two biggest concerns for just about everybody old enough to be out on their own. Even when considering health, 49% of those over 70 rated theirs as “very good to excellent,” notably better than even the 18-39 age group where 42% consider their health “very good to excellent”(1) - another unexpected statistic.
We have a remarkable ability to adapt. Regardless of how bad things have been, how many terrible days in a row have come along, how often we might have just wanted to quit, we are still her. Clearly things are never so bad as to be unsurmountable. We don’t let circumstances overwhelm us because we know that only we are responsible for how we feel. Or put another way, only you are responsible for how you feel.
Those who are over 70 and can still look at dwindling income and encroaching health problems, know they feel excellent, or at least very good because they have adapted to their situations. They may eat at home more often, make do with the faded carpet another year, spend a few minutes on Sunday filling a pill organizer for the week, or add a trip to the lab once a month to their calendars. These aren’t concessions to frailty. These are the keys to happiness and satisfaction. They truly believe these. I know because, although I’m not in the over 70 group yet, I am living on a fixed retirement income and have had multiple medical issues, yet if I was asked those questions, I would also answer very good to excellent. (Well, perhaps somedays only good to very good, but generally life is pretty okey dokey!)
It matters how you look at your world. Only you can decide if you are going to be happy with it. If you do decide to be happy, you select the keys that satisfy you and then you get to tell yourself that you feel very good to excellent because you will!
(1) “Second Half of Life Study,” AARP-National Geographic, AARP Bulletin 63:5, June 2022.
(2) “Median household income in the United States by age 2020,” Statista Research Department, Oct. 8, 2021.