How do priorities change in the course of life?

With a good bottle of red wine and delicious food on the couch: Many adults like to spend their Saturday evening like this or something similar. The guilty conscience is often reported very quietly, because ten years ago they would never have spent a Saturday evening on the couch. Instead, they made an appointment with the clique and started the evening in a bar. Then you would have moved on to the cinema, a concert or a party. After several hours of excess, you would have eaten a limp burger at four at night and then fell into bed tired and happy.

Many adults over 40 can only smile wearily at this idea. Now they prefer to put their feet up comfortably on a Saturday evening and eat porcini mushroom risotto instead of burgers. And the best thing is: you will feel completely happy. But what has become of the young, determined people they once were - always looking for something new and exciting? Are they all lost in boredom and philistinism?

Social psychologists describe this phenomenon as a gradual shift in priorities in life. The young person lives like a mountaineer: He moves from stage to stage, from event to event. Such a life is easy in the early twenties because something new happens all the time, be it a career jump, the new apartment or a sudden jump on cloud nine. When you are young there are reasons enough to make plans for the future and to put your hopes in new events.

When most people are in their early 40s, not so much happens anymore, life really slows down. The older people get, the more everything revolves around fulfilling responsibilities and avoiding loss. There is the relationship, the job, the children: It's about keeping everyday life going, which has been built up for a long time and with great effort. The mountaineer has become a Nordic walker who enjoys running his lap around the block every morning in a relaxed manner.

This development is also described in a blog study from the USA. Psychologists have analyzed several thousand private blogs and examined which emotions bloggers describe when they say of themselves that they are happy.

In the here and now and tomorrow

It turned out that young bloggers above all report happy experiences or events. Moments when they felt "excited, enthusiastic or ecstatic". The happiness of young people lies more in the future, with all the things that lie ahead of them and that they are looking forward to.

Older bloggers, on the other hand, tend to describe their happy moments as "relaxed, calm, or relieved". They see their happiness in the present when they feel comfortable with their current living conditions. The dreams that one had earlier become fewer with age, because some of them may have already come true.

Alois Stutzer, happiness researcher in economics at the University of Basel, said yes Süddeutsche.de: "In many countries, adults between the ages of 40 and 50 are dissatisfied with their lives because they cannot fulfill their wishes - often also material wishes. But the sources of happiness change over the course of a lifetime. As a young person, you live optimistic and future-oriented, later life will be a little more calm. "

So if you're happy with a quiet evening in your own four walls, it's not because you've lost the idealism of your youth, your perspective has just changed. Your happiness has developed, as has you.

© Süddeutsche.de / leja / rus / mane