Saturday, 28 September 2013

U-Tube

I always thought the story of any life (or "narrative arc" as we socio-psychologists would have it) is "n" shaped - a flat topped bell curve.

Obviously it starts and finishes with a helpless wrinkled and incontinent stage and in between goes up to a flattened peak in the middle. A bit like Sir Bruce Forsyth's hairpiece.

On one side of this nicely symmetrical model you have the sullen, frustrated teenagers and on the other the miserable complaining pensioners (collective noun "grumble"). The happy successful adults are in the middle between Kevin the Teenager and Victor Meldrew.

Anyway, it turns out that this is what we socio-psychologists call "complete bollocks" and the actual model for life-stage happiness is 'U-shaped'.

As I approach pensionable age (yes it was a surprise to me as well) I look around and re-evaluate my view of "senior citizens". No longer are they Grandma Giles characters dressed in black and prodding people in post office queues with their brollies. Now they are smiling hipsters in Weird Fish surfing tops driving around in hot super-minis and going on Viking River Cruises. Younger folk have every right to become sullen, frustrated, miserable and grumbling just looking at these selfish old bastards who are devouring the planet and calling all the voting shots.

In Sir Bruce's case they are trousering £150k for reading out bad jokes from an auto cue. 

14 comments:

Liz said...

I think I match the complete bollocks N theory more than the U shaped one in the article you link to. On the whole, I have become steadily happier as I have got older. I am now exactly half the age that my oldest grandparent was when she died, so I think I qualify as middle aged. So am I now heading down an N or up a U?

Nota Bene said...

Brilliant...that's the best news I've had for a long time...I have something to look forward to. Your post may have just sent me onto the upwards curve of the U

Rog said...

Liz: Go for a backward facing "h" and you can grasp the best of all worlds!

Nota: The only way is up, young man.

Z said...

At least the regular raising of pensionable age is keeping me relatively young - or so I'd thought. Maybe I should welcome approaching old deardom.

Macy said...

Excellent news Rog! This means that as I hurtle towards the middle of he U Bend I'm going to bounce right back up again.

There's probably a terrible pun in there somewhere, but I'm too far down the U bend to find it right now....

Rosemarie Blackthorn said...

As a budding cyclist, I prefer the analogy of the 'n' - it's too much like hard work having to pedal up the other side of the bloody U!

Zig said...

Life seems to be more a row of Ws WWWWWWWW

Mike and Ann said...

If we have to think of life as the shape of a letter of the alphabet then I think Zig has the best shape - a long series of ups and downs- WWWWWWWWW. From my own point of view I think we reach a peak at around twenty, and then find that the peak isn't a high point - it's a long, long, long plateau, which goes on- well certainly into our seventies- or as long as you want, or allow it to. Or..... until the umpire calls time.

Mike and Ann said...

P.s. Sorry - should have written Umpire with a capital.

mig bardsley said...

WWWWWWWWWWW suits me. And I bet the brolly wielding grannies were having fun - they just didn't let on.

Mike and Ann said...

P.P.S. For 'peak' read 'PRIME'.

Rog said...

Z: I always thought you were in your mid forties.

Macy: Long time no see hen! I think your homework (a blog post) is late being handed in.

Rosemarie: You haven't studied BMX have you?

Zig: You appear to know a lot about zigs and zags.

Mike & Ann: I like the concept of being 20 all your life. Even the Umpire has a big "U" though.

Mig: You never crossed my Scottish Gran and lived to tell the tale.

Pat said...

I lean towards Grandma Giles.

Beatrix said...

a giant fat potato. LOL!