There is consolation in our misery.
At least, that’s what researchers from the University of Alberta would have you believe.
After studying their fellow Canadians over a period of 25 years they concluded that rather than dipping in middle age as has long been believed happiness climbs steadily from your teens onwards – as if life were one long amble towards the sunlit uplands.
Personally I’m not convinced.
Just a couple of months ago British and Australian researchers announced that ‘life satisfaction’ falls gradually until the ages of 40 to 42 – before rising again until you hit 70.
They had studied 50,000 adults in Australia Britain and Germany.
The lesson I take away from these conflicting reports is that either people in different countries feel differently about their lives (imagine that!) or that some research isn’t worth the peer-reviewed paper it’s printed on.
In any case I don’t want to believe the Canadians.
For a start your 40s are crap.
Not only are you halfway to the grave but it increasingly feels like it.
Your knees creak – your back aches and your fleshy bits droop more than they used to.
If you have kids they’re probably no longer at the adorable stage but continue to bleed you dry.
At work you’re squeezed between thrusting youngsters and ageing deskblockers.
If you own your home you’re still paying for it; if you don’t you’re still struggling with the realisation that you never will.
Your parents are both a source of concern and a glimpse of your future.
And everyone tells you life is just beginning …
By this point you’ve been legally adult for more than two decades.
You’re living with decisions whose consequences you barely understood when you took them.
From career to home to partner to hairstyle – many will have been bad. That’s the law of averages.
Who wouldn’t get a bit wobbly in the circumstances?
You have real problems – unlike some whingeing 18-year-old with his whole life in front of him.