I can’t go back to yesterday - because I was a different person then. - Lewis Carroll
I’m old and getting older. I’ll be sixty in January. I feel about the same as I did ten years ago, or even thirty years ago, really. I thought that when I was this age I would be this whole other person but I’m not. Maybe we don’t change as much as we think we do as we get older.
I don’t feel like I’ve changed, well, dramatically anyway. At my core I’m pretty much the same person that I was when I a child. However we do change in some ways because change is healthy and it’s inevitable. We mature. We become wiser, but generally, as I said we remain the same at our core. I think we simply become a more defined and clear version of ourselves. A sleeker version of you. As an example I no longer have the energy or time for meaningless friendships, interactions I don’t want to have or conversations that waste my time and bore me. That happens because when day, all of sudden, you realize how many things don’t require your commitment or your comment.
But, again, we do change and one of the things about us that changes is our measurement of happiness. As we age our definition of happiness evolves. It has too. We can’t maintain the same level happiness as a sixty year old as we did when we were 6 or even 16
Social psychologists describe it this way; when we are younger have promotion motivation -- seeing our goals in terms of what we can gain, or how we can be better off. Eventually we shift to prevention motivation -- seeing our goals in terms of avoiding loss and leaving peacefully.
As we age, what we consider happy is drawn more and more from peaceful, relaxing experiences. That doesn’t mean the happiness we experience later in life is less joyful than it was as, say, a teenager. …. And I still get excited thinking about what lies ahead of me tomorrow, but more and more my happiness is found in what sits directly in front of me today. It’s the same level of happiness but it’s different and that’s the best way I can describe it to you. It’s the natural progression of things.