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The Two Happiest Ages, According to Scientists

The Two Happiest Ages, According to Scientists

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?

Related:
Is There an Ideal Age Gap in Relationships?

Read more: Inspiration, Self-Help, Spirit

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Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. You can be blog-friends with her at dianavilibert.com, or tweet her at @dianavilibert.

198 comments

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2:10PM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

CORRECTION- SORRY FOR LEAVING OUT THIS IN THE POST.
Kathy P.,

There is a reason that the countries WITH THE HAPPIEST CITIZENS (largely existing in Western Europe and not including The USA and The England and its surrounding countries/for lack of better term) give their citizens the most Human Rights and resources to strive. And it is because it can be ignored or overcome; a ton of people I have talked about this with (all in The USA) think of themselves as middle class, yet the middle class is really turning into the poor and a huge percentage of them are rich and never were without; all of which research proves. I have also communicated with people who lean on religion and family to maintain the false happiness or are fake happy people, because un-happy people or people serious about the problems of this world are not popular. You take what their crutch(es) and camouflage away and they crash; not so for most of the reverse people (like myself).

1:51PM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

Kathy P.,

There is a reason that the countries (largely existing in Western Europe and not including The USA and The England and its surrounding countries/for lack of better term) give their citizens the most Human Rights and resources to strive. And it is because it can be ignored or overcome; a ton of people I have talked about this with (all in The USA) think of themselves as middle class, yet the middle class is really turning into the poor and a huge percentage of them are rich and never were without; all of which research proves. I have also communicated with people who lean on religion and family to maintain the false happiness or are fake happy people, because un-happy people or people serious about the problems of this world are not popular. You take what their crutch(es) and camouflage away and they crash; not so for most of the reverse people (like myself).

8:30AM PDT on Aug 28, 2013

hmmm, I don't know about this. I am 22 and happy most of the time. I miss being more carefree (highschool and before) but I love my life. Happiness is a choice

9:20AM PDT on Aug 22, 2013

I feel it vary from one individual to another. We all go through life differently..

3:53AM PDT on Aug 17, 2013

Two "Ups" among the "Downs" of life :)
Thats all.

1:29PM PDT on Aug 15, 2013

Happiness and contentment come from within. Age does not play a part. One can be happy throughout life. But of course we must expect some hills and valleys.

3:18AM PDT on Aug 15, 2013

waiting for second phase.:-)

12:20PM PDT on Aug 14, 2013

Thank you!

10:43PM PDT on Aug 12, 2013

II don't know. I reckon that "happiness" depends upon how each of us defines "happiness". Regardless of your age, "continuously" setting "realistic" goals throughout your life brings real happiness. Don and I CAN! :-))

5:13PM PDT on Aug 11, 2013

Thanks.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

Oh well, I imagine that a significant part of the populace are all doomed!

This made me smile. Such a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

I never use mine. Just a waste.

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