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by Phyllis Pollack
December 2010

From the Blog of Phyllis G. Pollack.

Phyllis  Pollack
The end of the year is upon us, and this fact usually affects people in one of two ways: happiness or sadness. Some love the Christmas – New Year’s holidays and go all out celebrating and decorating, giving and receiving. Others hate the holidays for a myriad of reasons, trying to ignore them and feeling sad with the ending of the year.

It seems that our degree of happiness has more to do with our age than with the time of the year. In the December 16th, 2010 edition of The Economist, the authors discuss “The U-Bend of Life: Why beyond middle age, people get happier as they get older.” Economists measuring the Gross National Happiness (GNH) of various countries have found that “Life is not a long slow decline from sunlit uplands towards the valley of death. It is, rather, a U-bend.” (Id.):

“When people start out on adult life, they are, on average, pretty cheerful. Things go downhill from youth to middle age until they reach a nadir commonly known as the mid-life crisis. . . . The surprising part happens after that. Although as people move towards old age they lost things they treasure – vitality, mental sharpness and looks – they also gain what people spend their lives pursuing: happiness.” (Id.)

To reach this conclusion, economists looked at data from 72 countries. This nadir varies among countries. While Ukrainians are at their most miserable at age 62, the Swiss hit rock bottom at age 35. In most countries, people are the most unhappy in their 40’s and early 50’s. The global average is 46 years of age.

So, depending upon your age, you most probably will view the holidays differently. If you are young – you probably love the holidays. If you are approaching mid-life – you probably dislike the holidays or are saddened by them. As you reach 46 years old, these feelings become most pronounced. But, if you are approaching senior citizen status or are there already, you are attaining happiness; and the older you are, the more likely that you are happy at this time of year, since, in general, you are much happier than the younger generations.

In truth, happiness is a state of mind affected by age. Nevertheless, I want to wish each of you, my readers and my supporters, a wonderful, happy holiday and new year. May both bring you good health, “happiness” and prosperity! Enjoy the holidays and Be “ Happy”!

This is my last blog for 2010. I plan to take some time off over the next week, and I hope that each of you are able to do so, as well. See y’all in January 2011!

. . .Just something to think about!


Phyllis Pollack with PGP Mediation uses a facilitative, interest-based approach. Her preferred mediation style is facilitative in the belief that the best and most durable resolutions are those achieved by the parties themselves. The parties generally know the business issues and priorities, personalities and obstacles to a successful resolution as well as their own needs better than any mediator or arbitrator. She does not impose her views or make decisions for the parties. Rather, Phyllis assists the parties in creating options that meet the needs and desires of both sides.  When appropriate, visual aids are used in preparing discussions and illustrating possible solutions. On the other hand, she is not averse to being proactive and offering a generous dose of reality, particularly when the process may have stalled due to unrealistic expectations of attorney or client, a failure to focus on needs rather than demands, or when one or more parties need to be reminded of the potential consequences of their failure to reach an agreement.

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