Sunday 11 December 2016

Mary Kenny: the green-eyed monster

Does envy abate with age, or are we forever destined to be jealous of our peers?

Published 29/11/2015 | 02:30

Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny

Do people become less envious as they grow older? They certainly should do. Many bad traits abate with age. A shrink once told me that serious pathologies, such as the urge to commit arson, begins to decline after the age of 35. A study published by the University of California, and co-authored by Professor Christine Harris, claims that envy is one of those failings that tend to decline with age. People under 30 are much more likely to feel envious of others than those over 50, and presumably, as time goes by, envy almost trickles away. Hopefully.

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And it stands to reason. When you're 18, you're desperately envious of those with better looks, more sex appeal, more boyfriends or girlfriends, and better prospects in life.

Once you're over the hill of the 50s, c'mon, most of that is behind you. The dice has rolled, the choices made, and you've had to make the best of the hand you were dealt by fate. Yes, there are still choices available, but they have less capacity to change the course of your life.

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