Aging well : What makes you live a happier life?

agingwellAging well : Study of adult development
Through the book « Aging well », George Vaillant presents his long term study on condtions for a happier life. He and his research team at Havard University have studied this subject for more than 50 years by observing 268 havard graduates, 456 non-delinquent men, and 90 gifted women. The book is easy to read and the theories are easily understandable for everyone since it reveals a sort of law of hapiness through diverse case studies.

This book does not only deals with the relationships between wealth, health and hapiness and the impact of adolescence on the future, but also with the importance of internal maturity. The book also claims that humans as social animals can live an happier life by contributing to the development of the society, communicating and sharing with others.

Do creative activities enrich life ?
Among several conditions for a happier life, the book insists on the importance of doing creative activites, explaining that it can help enrich one’s life.

Sublimation transmutes raw instinct into religion; sublimation transforms Freudian idea into art; sublimation, as it were, creates pearls from irritating conflictual sand and spins the grimiest strew into the purest gold.
In short, creativity contains more passion than play. Sublimation and creativity are visceral, they come from the heart and the gut. Play can exist only in mind. Play is more frivolous than creativity.

Here we need to understand well what “play” means in this quote. In fact, it’s not an activity that helps you to improve your social skills, but can rather be translated as an amusement and a passtime in which you just pursue pleasure.

Even if both play and creative activities allow us to fill in time, throw away distracting thoughts, and pursue pleasure, they differ from the kind of pleasure and goals one pursues and especially what kind of result one creates and produces.

However that doesn’t mean that doing creative activites is something complex. It simply means activities that allow you to do something without distracting ideas and in that state of flow, to create, make, or produce something as a result. Writing and crafting are good examples.

What about you ? What kind of creative activities do you practice ? I know that some people practice meditation to find peace in mind, but that’s not always simple for everyone. I know some people who simply cannot meditate, because it’s so strange for them. In that case, what about doing creative activites instead ? It’s also another way of being immersed in what you like, in a natural way, pursuing pleasure.