This article, from the December 16 issue of the Economist, gives a surprising take on relative happiness beyond middle age. Thanks to Bob Buford for forwarding this link. This is a ray of sunshine, something to look forward to as the first baby boomers hit 65 on January 1, 2011. Here are a couple of quotes from the piece.

Two personality traits shine through the complexity of economists’ regression analyses: neuroticism and extroversion. Neurotic people—those who are prone to guilt, anger and anxiety—tend to be unhappy. Whereas neuroticism tends to make for gloomy types, extroversion does the opposite. Those who like working in teams and who relish parties tend to be happier than those who shut their office doors in the daytime and hole up at home in the evenings.

Sure am glad I'm the extroverted type who likes to work in teams and relishes parties!

One final factoid: In the great majority of countries people are at their unhappiest in their 40s and early 50s. The global average is 46.

Well, I'm 59, I've been out of the business world for 10 years, and I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life! Read the complete article here.

Research shows that great apes share this trait. See the article here.