Age And Happiness Essay

2346 words - 9 pages

Teenagers and young adults are commonly presumed to be shallow — preferring hedonic happiness over eudaimonic happiness, suffering violent mood swings, taking many risks, rebelling, and being constantly depressed. However, the real answers are quite contrary to the stereotype. A survey of adolescents and young adults were asked to rate several items based on importance (relationships, money, learning, work, free time, and possessions), on a scale of 1-6 with 6 being the least important. The following were most commonly rated as the most important in the following order: relationships and learning, money, work and free time and possessions. The following were the most frequently rated as the least important: free time and work, possessions, relationships and money, and learning. Thus, it seems like adolescents tend to value relationships and learning the most, while putting free time and work at the end of the scale. This paints a portrait of a studious person who cares about personal relationships above free time and working. So, while this indicates a the general willingness to look towards the future, it is probably not forward-facing enough to care about future occupation. It is interesting to note that out of all the people surveyed, NONE of them listed learning as the least important.
As for the adults, they most often rated relationships as the most important, and possessions as the least important. Unfortunately, this category did not include any people of retirement age who likely would have had different experiences with the matter. Still, all of the adults strongly agreed with the fact that they had all the “important things” in their lives. While most adolescents also felt this way, there were a marked number who did not. Many more of the adults also strongly agreed that they were currently happy, as did the adolescents. The adults were also more prone to thinking that things would get better if they were currently bad.
Overall, it is hard to judge how happy one age group is compared to another, and since the questions were not weighed, the results can be considered inconclusive in some cases. For all of the questions, none of them had ever reached an overall average below 2—indicating that overall people tended to no more than moderately disagree with the statements provided in the survey. Adults tended to enjoy their current occupations more than teenagers, were more likely to feel that they were working to the best of their potential, less likely to say that they didn't have many close friends, less likely to say that they don't focus on positive events, less likely to say that someone always has it worse, more likely to say that today is a good day, more likely to say that having an extra 10,000 would solve all of their problems, more likely to say that they own enough things, more likely to say that they have a plan for the end of the day, less likely to say that they use their time wisely, less likely to say...

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