It’s true—happiness may actually come with age! According to this Nytimes.com article, a 2008 Gallup poll that covered more than 340,000 participants in the United States has found that once people hit 50, they experience a marked improvement in overall well-being. The results of the survey, which were published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, produced the following statistics: at 18, people have a generally high level of happiness, which steadily decreases as they get older; at 50, they experience an abrupt change—they suddenly start getting happier and happier as they age; once folks hit 85, they are happier with themselves than they were in their youth.

The survey also suggests similar patterns in stress, anger, and sadness. People who are 22 and older seem to experience a continuous decline in their stress levels as they age—the lowest point of stress manifesting at around 85. Angsty teens will find their anger levels decreasing from age 18 onwards, and while feelings of sadness increase gradually through the years, they peter out at age 50 until the mid-70s, reprising ever so slightly in the mid-80s.

The results of the survey were of so much interest to experts that a new study based on its findings was actually carried out. We at FN were compelled in very much the same way—and we asked 12 fabulous forty- and fifty-somethings to ponder this question: “What is the best thing about getting older?” See the gallery below for their candid, confident, and completely age-defying answers!

(Photos by Wesley Villarica, Dix Perez, Tweetie de Leon)

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