Breath of Clarity

TED TALK- Laura Carstensen

For the first time in history, the majority of babies born are having the opportunity to grow old. The increase in life expectancy is the product of culture that improves health and well-being. I was surprised that this is true, considering that my image of an older individual is one who is struggling. Then I realized that this image resonated with me only because it sparked a fear that I may end up sad in the final stages of my life. That fear was more powerful than the beauty I often see in the faces of older men and women who are satisfied with their life.

According to this TED Talk, aging brings remarkable improvements: increased knowledge, expertise, and emotional aspects of life improve. Older people are happier than middle-aged and younger people certainly. My belief is that wisdom comes out of experience and that the clarity that wisdom provides makes us feel more comfortable with ourselves and outside circumstances.

Carstensen explored whether the conclusions found through research was is specific to the current generation of old people. This was clarified by conducting an experiment where individuals are assessed over time, evaluating them everyday. It is not one particular generation, but the same individuals overtime report more positive experience. This showed that longer lives improve quality of life at all ages.

Recognizing that we won’t live forever changes our perspective of life in positive ways. Our time horizons grow shorter and we realize what is really important. We live in the moment, invest in sure things, deepen relationships, and overall savor life. This makes me want to try as much as possible to take time to value the positive and to emphasize that, even though the negative aspects of life make us more upset than the positive make us glad, life is dominated by goodness. I need to make sure I fully comprehend this idea before it’s too late.