Peaks come in every person’s life, and although you may not be feeling it right now for one reason or another, take heart—as you age, you will find joy and contentment you never thought was possible.
According to studies featured in Reader’s Digest, experts at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the British National Health Service, women have three points in their lives where their happiness peaks:
At 23 years old
You’re obviously already past this age, but can you still remember how fun it was for you? Research says that most 23-year-old women are coming to terms with their adulthood and are eager about their newfound independence and self-acceptance. It's is all about new people, places, and professions, and who wouldn’t be excited about those?
At 69 years old
There’s a huge jump between 23 and 69, and that’s because your thirties to fifties (read: where you are at the moment) are all about the serious business of getting stable. Your working years are all about building a career, building a family, or both; you’re basically straddled with all the responsibilities of “adulting.”
Once you hit your sixties, you’re already looking forward to retiring (if you haven't yet) and enjoying the fruits of your labor. You’re probably already a senior at work, or your business has already flourished, and contentment is setting in. At 69, you’ll probably just kick back and chill at a beach somewhere.
At 89 years old
Interestingly, research shows that women in their 80s are much happier than men of the same age and show lower risks of mental health issues. Relieved of “the brunt of domestic and caring responsibilities,” senior women enjoy their years by being at peace with themselves and their achievements.
Here’s the thing: while these are what science says to be the highest points of your life, you can always choose to create your own happiness right at this moment. If you’re looking for a better approach to life, then
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Are you guilty of scrolling through your high school classmate’s Facebook feed and asking yourself why she’s more successful than you are? Here’s a piece of advice: Stop. A woman’s life is not measured by how many countries she has visited or how much money she regularly makes. If you’re living comfortably, are able to provide for your family, and are happy with the current relationships that you have, then these are the simple joys you should focus on. Everyone runs a different race, and everyone is never at the same point, so enjoy your own journey!
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Do you really need to get so angry about the person who roughly shoved past you at the MRT? Let go of the small things that don’t need your time or energy, and when you find yourself dwelling and simmering over something inconsequential, stop and divert your attention to happier thoughts. The more often you do this, the more it becomes a habit, and later on, you’ll find that you feel so much lighter about yourself and life in general.
3. Say “No.”
You’re too old to hide behind excuses and hiya when a friend asks you to go out with her after a long day at work. Instead of prolonging the agony and seen-zoning her for hours, just outright be honest and say “Sorry, I can’t today.” Learning to say no to things that make you uncomfortable or unhappy takes a great load off your shoulders, and your friends will appreciate the honesty, too!
4. Allow yourself to have fun.
Sure, you’re saving up for your parents’ health insurance policies, or you and your partner are setting aside money for your own condo. That’s all well and good, but don’t tighten your belt so much that you can’t breathe. Give yourself financial and mental space to have fun. Take that vacation! Buy those shoes! Life is not and should not be an unending relay of bills to pay, so try to relearn the definition of fun.