Your friend gets a dream car while you're still driving a piece of junk. Or your nemesis is marrying Mr. Right while your love life is anything but a fairytale. Whatever the scenario, we're all bound to feel jealous at some point or another. And it's not a fun feeling.
But a new study says we can look forward to seeing green less often with each coming birthday. Indeed, researchers from the University of California, San Diego say envy is more common among younger people.
The study looked not only at the frequency of "green" feelings, but also at what people of different ages are most jealous of. The researchers analyzed data from two studies, spanning around 1,800 people between the ages of 18 and 80.
Overall, the majority of people reported feeling envious in the last year -- but jealous feelings fell after age 50. Around 80 percent of under-30s recalled feeling envy in the past year but that dropped down to under 70 percent for people over 50.
Across the board, people seemed to be jealous of those similar to them -- of the same gender and around the same age. But there were differences between young and old. Younger people were more likely to envy another for their looks, educational accomplishments and romantic success. Older people were more likely to be envious of things like wealth and career success. For example, around 40 percent of younger people reported being jealous of someone because of their romantic conquests, but that number dropped down to around 15 percent for people over 50.
Researchers say the findings show that envy reflects the things we value. For older people, that seems to be wealth and being established.
The authors have one explanation for the difference. “My hunch, though,” lead author Christine Harris said in a news release, “is that the hold envy has on people diminishes with time. My guess is that it’s good news about aging.”
Or perhaps older people are just happier with life in general. Some studies have shown that happiness increases in our later years. One British survey declared 58 is the age when people feel happiest, thanks to things like better work-life balance and being done raising children. Other studies have said that happiness rises from our 60s to our 80s.
Good news, indeed.
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