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March 01, 2014



I'd say you were both wrong.

Everyone I know (I'm mid 40s) says their early 30s were their best years. It's the sweet spot between being reasonably successful, sorted & rewarded career wise and before health issues become a problem.

It's all very well to say that at 20 you have all the money you need from "part time jobs etc". But the point is you usually have to do something pretty grim as that part time job. I can assure anyone that getting paid a six figure salary to work in a warm office, in front of a Bloomberg screen is more fun than a minimum wage job in a plastics packing factory or picking asapargus.


I'm not sure about your comparison between yourself and Jackart. Yes, you may well be happy with what you have achieved. But if Jackart is disappointed with his lot/life/achievements, he hides it well. From his writings, he appears happy with his life, the world, and, dare I say it, himself. (That is not meant as a criticism - I'm talking optimism rather than smugness.) Maybe it's the bicycling.

Lucky Godot

There is research ("Age and loneliness in 25 European nations") that shows the two loneliest ages as being 65+ and 15-24. Thus, the 15-25 age range may be very happy for some (those physically fit, sexually attractive, socially comfortable, financially stable etc) and very unhappy for others. The prevalance of mental health issues in adolescence and early adulthood suggests it is not happy for everyone, and for some may be acutely unhappy.

I am 46 and have never been happeir. The 15-25 time was the worst of my life and I would never want to go back.

The UKIP argument seems to be backwards. A sentimental attachment to a an older time doesn’t necessarily breed racism and xenophobia. Rather the racsim encourages a search for a 'purer' time of racist comics on TV, homophobia, sexism, Jim’ll Fix it etc.



I was exceptionally unhappy between the ages of 15 and 25, for reasons which I don't think were inevitable. So if that affects my judgement, it probably shouldn't.

But looking back on those years, I don't think just that I was unhappy. That's not even the first thing that comes to mind. It was that God, I was stupid and ignorant in all sorts of ways, and didn't realise it. And this - rather than personal unhappiness - led me to make all sorts of mistakes and have all sorts of bad experiences and upset all sorts of other people, when I didn't need to.

I guess this would have happened even had I been personally happy.

So if Jackart's thesis is correct - and it may well be, at least to the extent that that's the time of life to which people are most likely to look back with nostalgia - then it may be that happiness is dependent to a degree on ignorance, on not knowing what's going on, on possessing a large quantity of unwisdom.

And it might be that we prefer the more mixed, more complex, less "happy" but neverthless richer state that we can attain later in life, when we've developed (or at least had the chance to develop) more worldly wisdom, more scepticism, maybe even more disillusion, but a sense that happiness, in its naive state, may not even be the most important thing.

Chris Purnell

UKIP is the British version of the Tea Party and there just aren't enough fat angry white men to electorally matter.


Shinsei 1967,

You are trolling here? You don't think earning a six figure salary is representative of people in their early 30s? Asking for a friend.


UKIP are odd. All the bods running it seem well off and without any real problems in life but are incredibly angry about everything and think the EU is a new third Reich. They all seem daft as a brush. I cannot see the attraction.

Peter Whale

Jackart is a tribal bigot for the Tory party. He defends "Cast iron Dave" like a lovesick Taliban. So you don't understand the attraction of UKIP are you all stupid? There is no attraction it is a protest against the Liblabcon. Tell me how else does one protest?


I find this type of research very problematical.

I think saying you were happy as a youngster is usually done to contrast with your unhappiness at being a wage slave now! I think it is bordering on being anecdotal. I find this type of 'science' fatally flawed.

I remember some research that analysed twins who had been separated at birth and the research noted how similar in personality they were. They concluded that personality was genetic. But wait a minute here, one set of twins were really gorgeous looking blondes. They both liked the same things, were happy and had a wide circle of friends. Well, they were both gorgeous looking blondes, what would you expect! In other words you could equally argue environmental factors had as much to do with their personalities as genetic ones.

The point is this science needs dissecting and treating with utmost skepticism.


I think you are trying to analyse freedom as if it were a fungible commodity.

Freedom is only ever meaningful as freedom FROM something specific, and whether "it" then contributes to happiness or well-being really does depend on the specifics of that something, and the psychological circumstances of that person.

You're spinning the wheels looking at this kind of population data and trying to infer general truths about general freedom.



- luckily science is largely about cultivating a mindset of dissection and utmost scepticism. No one is more sceptical of the single study than the scientist.


"No one is more sceptical of the single study than the scientist."

Well, maybe so, but just so they know, I have my eye on them!

But this article is built on the validity of such work, that is the point really!


I'd hate to be a teenager nowadays, what with all the social media, vanity, self-obsession and self-promotion. Trying to be popular must be a full-time job, and I feel sorry for any kid who isn't very good at it.

Phil Beesley

Chris: "Chalet girls never threw themselves at me, partly because I couldn't afford skiing holidays."

But you could have had a holiday job in Blackpool in the 1980s. The Pontins chalet girls would have loved exotica like you from Leicestershire.

Countryfile -- classic TV for 50 somethings -- has just finished on BBC1 on the telly across the room. Ostensibly, the programme entertains people who are content in their place in the world and who are interested in the British or English. Perhaps it appeals to other viewers, younger or not British, who seek different things in life.

Some Countryfile viewers will go to work tomorrow, internally resigned that they will be unlistened to and ignored. They may have given up on collective or personal efforts to be heard at work.

But they can assemble a very powerful collective when addressing environmental or historical concerns locally.

Codgers are brilliant. They have the connections and political instincts to achieve their aims. Richard Taylor of Wyre Forest was a codger when elected MP as an independent.

It is significant to note that codgers don't assemble around an amorphous or disordered hero -- contrast Richard Taylor with Julian Assange. Codgers are sceptics with a long term view -- about their grand children if not not their immediate well being. Codgerism is classless because codgers know that money runs out one day.

Codgers know that stuff about being a self made person usually amounts to a pile of crap.

Some codgers are dumb. Richard Branson, a codger, believes that Richard Branson is a great businessman, even though Richard Branson knows all of the contradictory evidence.

NIMBYs moan but codgers get up and change things.

Churm Rincewind

"UKIP is a contemptible party of by and for stupid, angry people."

As the FT points out this morning, UKIP voters "are not just grumpy shire Tories" and that "UKIP draws more of its support from manual workers, the unskilled and the unemployed than do the three main parties".

What are we to make of that? Are we to pass over the views of manual workers, the unskilled and the unemployed because they're "stupid"?

And if they're "angry", well why shouldn't they be?

Could it possibly be that UKIP, in spite of its inchoate policies, is tapping into an entirely valid stratum of opinion which finds no other expression in the existing political establishment?

I think so. And I'm disappointed that UKIP's critics rather than addressing the underlying issues so often resort to trashing its supporters as "stupid and angry", an analysis which no doubt delights Nigel Farage, as it so spectacularly misses the point.

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