I was on the tube yesterday afternoon with a dead iPhone and 45 minutes to spare before my stop at Liverpool Street station. I took the opportunity to simply watch people and noticed a few generational patterns — sadly however, the older you get seemingly the less you smile.

A few observations:

  1. Children are most always smiling — generally content, curious and happy to be alive.
  2. Teens, within a group of friends, are quite loud, boisterous and proud — not annoyingly either — constantly trying to impress and outdo one another with their whit and charm.
  3. Teens, on their own, have their heads so deep in their smartphone that they’re completely unaware of the world around them, nor do they care.
  4. …much the same with middle aged men in suits.
  5. 40's-50's the shift is noticeable — starting to look tired, less happy, less inspired overall. I noticed a few using the tube ride home as a place to shut their eyes.
  6. The elderly however don’t seem to smile at all — almost as if they’ve given up on life. A couple across from me, likely in their 70’s, were both staring into space for ages, barely blinking and looking completely lifeless — I wish I knew what was going on in their mind. I intentionally smiled at them just to see their reaction and immediately they both looked away. Obviously my smile scared them.

Why do we lose our smiles? I sure hope I don’t.

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