剑桥大学:人最幸福的年龄是几岁?最新研究表明是36岁
2021-07-20 yzy86 7691
正文翻译


(本文发表于2121年4月9日,作者为剑桥大学伊曼纽尔学院心理学副教授Clare Mehta)
(在一项仍在进行的研究中,大部分受访者都承认:自己在三十几岁时要比二十几岁时幸福)

If you could be one age for the rest of your life, what would it be?

如果你可以在自己的余生中一直停在某个岁数上,你希望是几岁?
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Would you choose to be nine years old, absolved of life’s most tedious responsibilities, and instead able to spend your days playing with friends and practicing your times tables?

你会不会选择九岁,能从人生中大部分乏味且烦心的责任中解脱,还能把时光挥霍在和玩伴一起嬉戏以及习诵乘法口诀上?

Or would you choose your early 20s, when time feels endless and the world is your oyster – with friends, travel, pubs and clubs beckoning?

还是说,你会选择20岁出头,那时会感觉自己有无穷无尽的时间,而且会感觉整个世界都任你驰骋,朋友、出游、酒吧和俱乐部都在向你招手?

Western culture idealizes youth, so it may come as a surprise to learn that in a recent poll asking this question, the most popular answer wasn’t 9 or 23, but 36.

西方文化把青春理想化了,所以,当你发现在最近一项调查中被问及这个问题时大部分人的回答并不是9岁或23岁而是36岁时,可能会倍感意外。

Yet as a developmental psychologist, I thought that response made a lot of sense.

但作为一个成长心理学家,我认为这样的回答是非常合情合理的。

For the last four years, I’ve been studying people’s experiences of their 30s and early 40s, and my research has led me to believe that this stage of life – while full of challenges – is much more rewarding than most might think.

在过去四年中,我一直在研究人们在三十多岁和四十岁出头期间的(生命)体验,而我的研究让我相信:虽然这个生命阶段充满了挑战,但相应的裨益和收获却远超大部分人的想象。

The career and care crunch

事业和照护的两难困局

When I was a researcher in my late 30s, I wanted to read more about the age period I was in. That was when I realized that no one was doing research on people in their 30s and early 40s, which puzzled me. So much often happens during this time: Buying homes, getting married or getting divorced; building careers, changing careers, having children or choosing not to have children.

在迈入四十岁前的几年,当时我还是一名研究员,那时候的我希望能读到更多有关我所在年龄段的资料。就在那个时候我意识到,根本没有人去研究三十多岁到四十出头这个年龄段的人,这让我百思不得其解。太多的大事通常都会发生在这一年龄段内:买房子、结婚或离婚;立业、换职业、生育或是选择不生育。

To study something, it helps to name it. So my colleagues and I named the period from ages 30 to 45 “established adulthood,” and then set out to try to understand it better. While we are still collecting data, we have currently interviewed over 100 people in this age cohort, and have collected survey data from more than 600 additional people.

想要研究某个对象,为其命名是有帮助的。所以我和我的同事们将30至45岁这段时间命名为“成年确立期”,然后就开始着手试图更深刻地理解它。虽然我们还处在收集数据阶段,我们现在已经采访了这个年龄段中的一百多人,也已经从另外600多人身上收集到了调查数据。

We went into this large-scale project expecting to find that established adults were happy but struggling. We thought there would be rewards during this period of life – perhaps being settled in career, family and friendships, or peaking physically and cognitively – but also some significant challenges.

我们投身于这个大型项目的预期是,这些已经完成立身的成年人是幸福的,但同时也在挣扎。我们以为这个人生阶段会带给人各种收获,也许是在职业、家庭和友谊方面安定下来,或是在体力和认知能力上达到巅峰,但也会遇到一些重大挑战。

The main challenge we anticipated was what we called “the career and care crunch.”

我们预见到的主要挑战就是我们所谓的“事业和照护的两难困局”。
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This refers to the collision of workplace demands and demands of caring for others that takes place in your 30s and early 40s. Trying to climb a ladder in a chosen career while also being increasingly expected to care for kids, tend to the needs of partners and perhaps care for aging parents can create a lot of stress and work.

该困局指的是你三十多岁到四十岁出头时发生的情况,即职场的要求和照护别人的要求间发生的冲突。试图在选定的职业领域中更上一层楼,同时指望你去照顾孩子,去满足伴侣需求的情况也会越来越多,也可能是照顾年迈的父母,这些会造成很大的压力,也会耗费大量心力。

Yet when we started to look at our data, what we found surprised us.

然而,当我们开始着眼于我们的数据时,发现结果很让我们意外。
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Yes, people were feeling overwhelmed and talked about having too much to do in too little time. But they also talked about feeling profoundly satisfied. All of these things that were bringing them stress were also bringing them joy.

是的,人们会感到不堪重负,还会谈到需要做的事情太多,而可用的时间太少。但他们也谈到说自己感受到了深深的满足。所有这些给他们带去压力的事情,同时也给他们带去了喜乐。

For example, Yuying, 44, said “even though there are complicated points of this time period, I feel very solidly happy in this space right now.” Nina, 39, simply described herself as being “wildly happy.” (The names used in this piece are pseudonyms, as required by research protocol.)

比如说,44岁的玉英(音)说,“就算这个时间段中会出现一些非常复杂难解的时点,但此时此刻我还是能感觉到实打实的幸福”。39岁的妮娜则把自己简述为“无比幸福”。(按照研究协议的要求,本文中出现的名字都是假名)

When we took an even closer look at our data, it started to become clear why people might wish to remain age 36 over any other age. People talked about being in the prime of their lives and feeling at their peak. After years of working to develop careers and relationships, people reported feeling as though they had finally arrived.

当我们更细致地审视我们的数据时,人们希望永驻36岁而不是其他任何年龄的原因就开始明朗了。人们谈到,自己正处于人生中最好的年华,而且感觉自己处于巅峰状态。经过多年发展事业和人脉的努力,人们报告说感觉自己终于成功了。

Mark, 36, shared that, at least for him, “things feel more in place.” “I’ve put together a machine that’s finally got all the parts it needs,” he said.

36岁的马克分享说,至少对他而言,“感觉各方各面都更到位了。”他说,“我完成了一台机器的拼装,到最后,所需的所有部件都就位了”。

A sigh of relief after the tumultuous 20s

经过了凌乱的二十几岁,出现了能松口气的迹象

As well as feeling as though they had accumulated the careers, relationships and general life skills they had been working toward since their 20s, people also said they had greater self-confidence and understood themselves better.

除了感觉到自己已经完成了从20几岁起一直在孜孜以求的事业、人脉和常规生活技能的积累,人们还说他们的自信心变强了,也更了解自己了。

Jodie, 36, appreciated the wisdom she had gained as she reflected on life beyond her 20s:

36岁的乔蒂在反思20岁之后的生活时,很感激她在此过程中收获的智慧。

“Now you’ve got a solid decade of life experience. And what you discover about yourself in your 20s isn’t necessarily that what you wanted was wrong. It’s just you have the opportunity to figure out what you don’t want and what’s not going to work for you. … So you go into your 30s, and you don’t waste a bunch of time going on half dozen dates with somebody that’s probably not really going to work out, because you’ve dated before and you have that confidence and that self-assuredness to be like, ‘hey, thanks but no thanks.’ Your friend circle becomes a lot closer because you weed out the people that you just don’t need in your life that bring drama.”

“现在你已经拥有了整整十年的生活经验。而就你在20多岁时对自己的发现来看,你想要的东西并不一定就是错的。只是你有机会想明白哪些东西是你不想要的,以及哪些东西对你不会起作用。所以在你迈入30岁的门槛后,你就不会把大量的时间浪费在去和半打可能成不了的人约会上了,因为你以前约会过,而且你有那种自信和自我确信去说出‘谢谢,不用了。’你的朋友圈远比以前紧密了,因为你剔除了那些你在生活中并不需要却会带来戏剧性的人。”

Most established adults we interviewed seemed to recognize that they were happier in their 30s than they were in their 20s, and this impacted how they thought about some of the signs of physical aging that they were starting to encounter. For example, Lisa, 37, said, “If I could go back physically but I had to also go back emotionally and mentally … no way. I would take flabby skin lines every day.”

我们采访的大部分完成立身的成年人似乎都认识到了,他们在30多岁时比20多岁时更幸福,而这影响到了他们看待他们开始遇到的一些身体老化迹象的视角。比如,37岁的丽莎就说,“如果我可以重新拥有年轻的身体,却不得不在情感和心智上回到过去的状态...那门儿都没有。我在任何时候都会选择松松垮垮的皮肤纹理”。

Not ideal for everyone

并不是每个人都适用

Our research should be viewed with some caveats.

在检视我们的研究时需要注意一些问题。

The interviews were primarily conducted with middle-class North Americans, and many of the participants are white. For those who are working class, or for those who have had to reckon with decades of systemic racism, established adulthood may not be so rosy.

这些访谈对象主要是北美的中产阶级,而且参与者中有很多都是白人。对于劳工阶层或是那些不得不去应付长达几十年的系统性种族主义的群体来说,成年确立期可能就不会这么光鲜美好了。

My colleagues and I hope that our work and Shaefer’s book are just the beginning. Having a better understanding of the challenges and rewards of established adulthood will give society more tools to support people during that period, ensuring that this golden age provides not only memories that we will fondly look back upon, but also a solid foundation for the rest of our lives.

我和我的同事希望我们的工作和谢菲尔的书只是一个开始。更深刻地理解成年确立期的挑战和收获,将能赋予社会更多的工具来撑持身处这一阶段的人,并确保这一黄金年龄不仅能为我们提供可深情回顾的纷繁记忆,还能成为我们余生的坚实基础。

评论翻译
Bill Smith
I was surprised by this. There’s no mention of people in their 60s or 70s. I’m 73, retired, have been able to spend much of my time painting, learning about watercolors, doing pottery (which I’d already been doing as a hobby for 20 years). Even though I may not be as active or have as much energy as I used to, I can do pretty much what I want. I often don’t know what day it is, as every day is the weekend. I went to Europe for the first time in 2019 (right before the pandemic). Of course, I understand it depends on your finances, but that’s true of any age.

我对这个发现表示惊讶。文中都完全没有提到60多岁或70多岁的人。我73岁了,也退休了,已经可以把我大部分的时间用于画画、学水彩画、做陶器(这个爱好我已经维持了二十年了)。虽然我可能不像从前那么活跃了,精力也不比从前了,但基本上我想做什么就可以去做。我常常不知道今天是星期几,因为每一天都是周末。我在2019年时第一次去了欧洲(正赶在大瘟疫爆发前)。当然了,我也明白这要取决于你的经济状况,但任何年龄都是如此。

Rene Tihista
I am not surprised at all by the findings. Whenever I have talked with people about this topic I have always identified my “perfect” age as 35. I was at my peak physically, psychologically and professionally, though my peak earning years were still ahead. I’m now 82 and a widower of five and half years from a long and happy marriage and finding the 80s are pretty good too–so far. I’m still physically active, financially secure and fully engaged in life. But, gotta admit. It would be great to be 35 again.

我对这样的发现一点都不感到意外。每当我和别人谈论这个话题时,我总会把我的“完美”年龄定在35岁。当时的我正处于身体、心理和事业的巅峰期,尽管我收入的巅峰期还在后头。我现在82岁了,成为鳏夫也已经五年半了,那以前经历了一段幸福而长久的婚姻,到目前为止,我发现80几岁也是很不错的。我的身体活力依旧,财务上也有保障,而且我全身心地投入到了生活中去。但我必须承认,要是能重新回到35岁,那可就太棒了。
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Colin MacGillivray
At what age are people usually happiest?
Surely this question can only be answered by people at the end of their lives. So a sample was incorrect.

人们最幸福的年龄段通常都是哪个?
这个问题当然只能由走到生命尽头的人来回答了。所以搞抽样调查是不对的。
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Peta Schyler
This article assumes that life is linear progressive. It’s not.
Many people do not get to do what they really want to do i.e., work not hobbies, until they have a secure income and secure accommodation, both of which are really hard to come by if you choose to work at something that is not defined by society as a “good” occupation.
Further, many people do not start from the same level within society. From my perspective youth is wasted on (many of) the young.

这篇文章假设生活是直线推进的。而事实并非如此。
很多人在拿到稳定的收入,拥有安全的住处之前,是没法做他们真正想做的事情的,也就是说,那是工作而不是爱好,而如果你选择从事的不是一份被社会定义为“好”的职业,那这两者都是很难得到的。
此外,有很多人都不是从社会中的同一水平线上起步的。在我看来,很多青年人的青春都被浪费掉了。

Nancy N Ray
I’m 76 years old and never want to be in my 30s again! I was raising children, working and keeping house all at the same time. I was frazzled and depressed. Fifteen years ago, I retired. Two years ago my partner of 16 years passed away. Three months ago I put my precious dog to sleep. I’m all alone - and loving it! It’s taken 50 years to learn to love myself, take care of myself and be comfortable in my own company. Except for the body aches and pains, I wouldn’t trade this for the world!

我已经76岁了,死都不想再回到30多岁的时候了!那时的我要养孩子,要工作,还要同时操持家里的一切。当时我疲惫不堪,心里那叫一个郁闷。十五年前,我退休了。两年前,陪伴了我十六年的伴侣撒手人寰。三个月前,我也送我的宝贝狗狗上路了。现在我是孑然一身了,而我可喜欢这种状态了!我花了五十年的时间才学会爱自己、照顾自己以及在我自己的公司里感到舒服自在。我可不愿意拿现在这种生活去换过去那个世界,也就是有些身体上的病痛而已!

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