Hm. I’ve told my sons that I’d never want to be their age again, for I’m much happier as a fifty-something than I ever was at their age. In my experience, all things being equal (as in experiencing the same degree of fortune or misfortune at the same time), many will be happy, and many will be unhappy. It depends to a great extent on the person…and on the culture.

I spend a lot of time in the Philippines (I have a house there, far away from the touristy areas). It’s a true third-world country, with poverty deeper than most Americans have ever seen. But you know what? The people there are generally *happier* than here in America. My wife and I thought about that for a long, long time, and I came to realize that it’s because of *gratitude*.

Why’s that? Because as dirt-poor as so many of them are, they’ve learned to count their blessings…even the least of their blessings. It’s a cultural thing — when one is surrounding by poverty, one tends to become glad for what one has (the downside being, one tends to fight even harder to keep what little one has). Along the same line, Cicero once said, “Gratitude is the greatest of virtues, and the parent of all the other virtues”. Think about it — how can any of the other virtues be sincere without gratitude?

As I inferred above, much depends upon individual personality, too. Take two people facing the same challenges while having the same advantages, and chances are one’s going to be happier than the other.

Lastly, when it comes to skill with the written word, you’re certainly a better writer than I am. You make your points more succinctly and with greater passion than I do. If there’s anything I would have you learn from me, it wouldn’t be how to write…but how to be happy.

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Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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