Is age really just a number? Not according to some researchers: it looks like a new study has pinpointed exactly at what two ages we’re most satisfied.
The first age at which life satisfaction peaks? 23. And if you’ve ever been 23 or have met a 23-year-old, you understand why I’m so surprised by that one. My 23rd year was just one long quarter-life crisis. But hey, if like me, you missed that first life satisfaction peak, there’s another one just around the corner…a few decades later, at 69 years old.
The researchers, who studied 23,161 people between the ages of 17 and 85 for this study, say it’s all about expectations. People in their early twenties look on the bright side—in fact, they actually overestimate their future life satisfaction by about 10 percent. That is, until they roll into their mid- and late-twenties, when life disappointments start dashing their expectations. Womp, womp.
And it doesn’t stop there. The study says it’s all downhill from there, with decades of declining expectations that finally hit their lowest, most depressing point in their mid-fifties. It’s not until after the age of 55 that satisfaction levels begin to rise again, peaking at 69. The findings say that at that age, you’re actually underestimating your future happiness by 4.5 percent, meaning that you don’t feel the disappointment of dashed expectations like those in their twenties do.
This study backs up previous findings that human contentment ranks highest among people in their early twenties and those who are retired, and the pattern has been observed in more than 50 nations.
Do you think the researchers are onto something, or is age really just a number? What’s been your happiest age so far?