When I was 17 years old, my best friend and I created a time capsule predicting each other’s futures at age 27. As much as we tried, though, we couldn’t envision our lives beyond that point, because we would be “so old.” Riiiiight. In our teenaged minds, it seemed impossible that anything exciting or fun could happen after one’s late twenties. Seriously, lol.
Now at 34, exactly twice the age of my high school senior self, I know how badly mistaken I was about everything. I was far less certain of myself and my trajectory at age 27. I didn’t suddenly turn into a toad or anything at 30. In fact, my life took a definite turn for the better in my thirties, and I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been—including the supposedly “carefree” adolescence.
A recent survey of 2,000 people found that my experience is hardly unique. The researchers at OnePoll (on behalf of a brand called Tru Niagen) asked respondents at which age they would most like to stop time, and found that the average American answer is…36. Is anyone else getting major Daphne Du Maurier vibes? She famously wrote: “I wish I was a woman of about thirty-six dressed in black satin with a string of pearls.” Seductive!! Many women, including Du Maurier and my mom, report feeling their most beautiful in their thirties. The thirties are a time when most people buy their first homes, experience career and personal breakthroughs, enjoy more stable finances, and care less about the b.s. But you still have both physical and emotional energy to try new things and experiment, which makes it a perfect sweet spot.
Additionally, 40% said that they wouldn’t want to go back to their twenties (saaaame). Honestly, if I have to battle toxic bosses, career anxiety, being broke, and cystic acne again, I’d rather die. (No, I wouldn’t, I’d still go through it all, but very grudgingly.)
The respondents also tended to embrace aging (pro-aging) as opposed to fighting it relentlessly—a good thing since 53% reported feeling as though the quarantine has aged them. 63% said they plan on shifting their focus from looking younger to feeling younger, essentially increasing their health span. Here is how Americans try to age in a healthy way:
- Eat healthy (61%)
- Exercising daily (57%)
- Drinking water (56%)
- Taking care of their skin (54%)
- Maintaining their mental health (51%)
- Taking care of what their body tells them (46%)
- Maintaining emotional health (41%)
- Keeping a routine (26%)
I would say that this is a solid list. For me, sleeping enough and regularly is the most important thing, followed by eating healthy vegan food (most of the time), exercising every day, and drinking plenty of water. With these fundamental self-care practices, I definitely am excited to head to my happiest year—and beyond.
What was your happiest year—or is it yet to come?
Photo: Ferdinand Studio via Unsplash