What is the happiest time in life? Some will think that it is childhood, when we live in a world without the responsibilities and concerns of adult life. Others, perhaps, that it is the retirement age, as long as you arrive in good health, a time to rest from the rush of work and enjoy family and friends. Well, according to a study that has just been published in the journal Social Indicators Research , the best years of our life would be between 30 and 34 years old.
The data come from SHARELIFE 2008/09, a retrospective life survey carried out in 13 European countries among people aged 50 years and over, and it must be taken into account that this is a subjective evaluation carried out by the people interviewed at a specific moment of time. his life. The results were fairly stable between cohorts and genders, although slight differences were found between countries. In any case, the results showed a concave curve with a clear peak of happiness in the aforementioned years. The study also suggests that our perception of happiness evolves over time and that, around the age of twenty , changes in our personal and family life improve our well-being up to that point.
The authors note that these results are strongly influenced by the ability of older people to recall past periods of their life. It is difficult to discern whether the participants are accurately recalling these periods or if they are imagining what that period of their life would be like under current living conditions.
Retrospective assessments of well-being
If anything, the researchers note that retrospective evaluations help us understand current decision-making and even unravel why individuals may choose options that do not appear to maximize current well-being. In addition, there is no perfect measure of subjective well-being, and each one provides different information. Therefore, it is necessary to explore alternative indicators to fully understand the processes that drive people’s well-being.
Furthermore, this information is very interesting from a policy point of view: “The aging process in Europe has increased the relevance of older people on the agenda of policy makers. Exploring how they remember the past and how they associate subjective well-being with different circumstances can help to understand their current decisions and political preferences, ”the authors conclude.