General Question

bkburbo's avatar

When OUR generation (age 23-30) reaches middle age, who will be the happiest?

Asked by bkburbo (238 points ) September 16th, 2008

We all know happy people who have “made it”: parents, parents’ friends, professors, mentors, people we respect, want to become, etc. What occupations, career paths, personalities, values, experiences, decisions, people, or combination thereof will create a sustainably happy life?

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29 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

23–30? That’s not “our generation.”

bkburbo's avatar

Let’s say, then, the “generation” of people ages 23–30.

Nimis's avatar

Could you rephrase that?
Who is the who you are referring to in the phrase “who will be the happiest”?

bkburbo's avatar

In other words, who in the 23–30 age group will end up happiest in life by the time they are 40–50?

Nimis's avatar

So your question is:
When OUR generation (age 23–30) reaches middle age, I will be the happiest?

nikipedia's avatar

I’m a whole lot more interested in what we’re going to do for those who haven’t made it.

Nimis's avatar

Niki: I’m having a hard time understanding Bkburbo.
Could you rephrase this question for me?

Les's avatar

@nimis: I think the question is pretty clear. Read the description. When our generation (for the sake of argument, “our” generation is 23–30) is 40–50 years of age, which career path/ etc. will make most of us happiest? So in other words, do you think people who got PhDs will be happiest? Or will people who raised a family be happiest? etc. etc.

It is actually a really complicated question.

AstroChuck's avatar

Why can’t you do both?

bkburbo's avatar

@ Les: Exactly.

AstroChuck's avatar

Exactly “Why can’t you do both?” or exactly, Les?

Nimis's avatar

Removed because I am tired and not making any sense.

Les's avatar

@AC: I’m not suggesting you can’t. The question clearly states “Or any combination thereof”. I just didn’t feel like typing anymore.

And that’s why I said “It is a really complicated question.” With all these factors to consider, I don’t believe it will be possible to determine who will be happiest.

Nimis's avatar

In which case, my answer would have to be…some combination of those?
But I’m thinking it would also depend on the person?
Different things make different people happy?

bkburbo's avatar

In the most simple terms, our conception of happiness is already changing. The happiest people I know are those who have jobs and friends they love, with money being an important, but secondary root of that happiness. I suppose a more interesting question would be what jobs/careers will yield the greatest happiness? (I know it depends on the person, but in general terms, what do you think?)

PupnTaco's avatar

The happiest people of any generation are the ones who place a priority on happiness.

Nimis's avatar

I really shouldn’t be on here when I’m tired and delirious. Gah. Sorry, Bkburbo!
For the record though, let me say that my second response was a reply to Bkburbo’s reply of just “I”—before they edited their initial response. I’m guessing they hit the Answer button too soon?

I think “We all know happy people who have “made it”: parents, parents’ friends, professors, mentors, people we respect, want to become, etc.” threw me off. Sorry.

cyndyh's avatar

I think the people who will be the happiest (in any age group) are the people who don’t invite drama into their personal relationships, the people who pursue a career that they both love and can reasonably be expected to take care of their basic living expenses, and the people who make themselves a part of some community. I think most people can do those things and be happy.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Probably the people taking lots of mood stabilisers and antidepressants

ckinyc's avatar

no matter what age group or how successful you are. Without contentment. You will never be truly happy.

makemo's avatar

The one who has been the most greedy. The most uncaring. Most selfish. Preferbly most unintelligent. Yet smart enough not to worry about less important people and stuff (anything that doesn’t lead to increased popularity in his/her favor). The one with the most uncurable absence of empathic abilities, will turn out to be the one with the greatest mobility in life – which, in terms of harsh reality, is what it’s all about.

tWrex's avatar

Those who follow their dreams, but change it to realities. My “American Dream” is to have a wife (check), a dog (check), some kids, a house and a good job doing animation for a company like Aardman, Tim Burton, ILM or Pixar. That’s my aspiration. Which is why in 3 weeks I’ll never be on here anymore!

dalepetrie's avatar

Those who choose to do for a career what they would want to be doing anyway, even if they were not getting paid for it.

gailcalled's avatar

Beverly Sills, who had an extraordinary gift and a hugely successful career as an Opera Singer and then as a Guru in the classical musical community, said it best. Ironically, she had one daughter was was deaf and another who was retarded.

When interviewed late in her life, Sills said, “I am not happy but I am content.” Most people my age understand the difference..

nina's avatar

I strongly suspect that the ones that are happy now (when they are 20–30) will be happy in their midlife. Happiness, like love, is more of a skill than a state.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

From my experience as a 49 year old, the generation that will be the happiest when they reach 50 is the generation that invented the softest toilet paper. No shit. I hate it when I say “shit”, but it seemed appropriate.

Malakai's avatar

Career wise, someone told me once that you just have to figure out what makes you happy, and then figure out a way to get paid for it.

So yea, my answer is hookers.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I think that the ones that will be happiest will be the ones that come to terms with personal responsibility, and have a good work ethic. Having goals and working towards them makes people happy. Happiness is not a sustained state; it’s actually the pursuit that makes people happy. Nor is happiness an immediate state.

The 23–30s are a generation that was told at school that “all children are gifted” and that “trying is the same as achieving.” We seem to have ended up with a generation of Holden Caufields. There are a lot of bright people with expensive educations that are working part time jobs and having parents pay their bills because they think committing to working in office is a sell-out. There are also a lot of people who have creative degrees but no real talent. And let’s not forget those who couldn’t decide what they wanted to do after high school, so they are sitting, waiting, for motivation to strike them, eight years later.

This was expressed to me by a 25 year old co-worker, who, among her friends, is the only one of three who are working full time, paying all her own bills, and is able to go to grad school and have her employer pay for it.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I think the people of your generation who will be happiest will be the same as people of any generation that are the happiest: those who have a positive outlook on life. I was like one of those mentioned by @AlfredaPrufrock who couldn’t decide what I wanted to do after high school (or service). I took some jobs here and there to pay bills, and then left my hometown to pursue my dream. There were good times, and there were bad times, but all in all, I was happy, because I was not tied down to something I did not want to do.

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