As you grow up, you start to think that you really ought to be hitting certain milestones at certain ages. As a pre-teen you’ll already have an idea of what age you’d like to be when you have your first kiss. Then you’ll be thinking of when you would like to fall in love, get married and have kids. Though most of us believe our first crush will be the one we settle down with, this is very rarely the case, and so, our goalposts shift here and there as we start to mature. Still though, whether it’s the sociocultural influences that surround us, or our biological clocks that start to tick, the majority of women do feel that certain ages should define where we’re at in our lives. Recently, the Daily Mail sought to map out the ages that typically correspond with certain activities (based on other studies) – e.g. at age 18, most women will have experienced their first orgasm and at age 40 those of us in unhappy marriages are most likely to get divorced – but one finding that really piqued our interest was the age at which we’ll reach the sweet spot of contentment.
Though we’re often told that our formative years are the best of our lives – free of financial worry or the responsibility of minding babies, etc. – this study by Yale Home Security finds that it’s actually 34 when most women are at their happiest. Sure, wild parties and crazy one night stands may be a thing of the past, but as we typically begin to have kids, get married and we reach our stride as far as our careers are concerned, this is, apparently, the best age to be.
Not only are we ticking the various boxes that many of us have long been dreaming of, we’re also said to be at our most comfortable and at ease at this stage. We’ve gotten over the insecurities and uncertainties that dominated our 20s and we’re happy in our own skin. The good news? This lasts well beyond our 30s. The study examined 2,000 people aged 40 or over, asking them to reflect on their levels of contentment through different stages of life and from that, they drew key factors for each decade.
Of all the findings, one that we’re quite pleased to hear is that most people reported that they had only grown happier with age, not the other way around.
Nigel Fisher, MD of home security Yale, said: ‘With the average age we’re most happiest coming out in the mid-thirties, it suggests that the feeling of being settled in your work and personal life while still looking to the future is important. Getting on the property ladder was a recurring theme throughout the study and the age a person gets their first home often correlated with the happiest year they chose. That sense of a permanent home and place to create new and happy memories is a big part of the study and shows the importance of a secure home environment in making us content with life.’
The 12 recorded ‘Happy Factors’ of people in their 30s
1. I had children
2. I met someone I fell in love with
3. I was able to enjoy the finer things in life
4. I travelled
5. I started making the right decisions
6. I was making more money than I ever had
7. I got married
8. Had a great holiday abroad
9. I got a great new job/made a career change
10. Finally got on the property ladder
11. I moved abroad
12. My family members got married
The 12 recorded ‘Happy Factors’ of those in their 40s
1. Felt comfortable with myself
2. Had a great family life
3. Met someone I fell in love with
4. Had a great time with my children/ children were growing up
5. Got some ‘me time’ back
6. I was very successful
7. I had a lot of money put away
8. Got married
9. Got a divorce, started over
10. Changed career
11. Lost weight/got fit
12. Moved into a bigger home
13. Children moved out
14. Became stay-at-home