The Huffington Post recently published a story about Laura Carstensen’s book, A Long Bright Future. The story corrects five major misconceptions about growing older.
1. Older people are not actually miserable. In fact, aside from individuals with dementia-related illnesses, age actually seems to improve mental health. Older people tend to emphasize the big picture instead of stressing about smaller details like their younger counterparts. They enjoy themselves and treasure their time more.
2. DNA has power, but a healthy lifestyle is equally as important. People that live longer have lived a healthy lifestyle of not smoking, drinking in moderation, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and develop healthy coping mechanisms, not necessarily superior DNA.
3. Working hard your entire life and saving all the fun for retirement is not necessarily a good idea. It may be better to have more leisure time over the course of life instead of saving it all until after the work is done and the children are older.
4. It is not the older population that is overwhelming the world’s population, but rather higher birth rates and lower infant and child mortality rates in developing countries that are producing the population growth.
5. Aging is not a solitary activity, but one that everyone faces. As it is a reality for everyone, humanity seems to age together.