Past a certain point, most people don’t look forward to aging.
Aging means becoming a different person; your body and mind go through profound changes, and some of those changes aren’t for the better. While you might look forward to getting your driver’s license at 16 or renting a car at 25, you probably don’t carry that same enthusiasm into your 40th or 50th birthday.
Nevertheless, there are some benefits to aging. While you might not be able to, say, learn a new language as easily past your early childhood (more on that in a moment), your best years for arithmetic are probably still ahead of you.
Recently, Business Insider and IFL Science organized some of the scientific research on the peak ages for various activities. Some are pretty surprising; here are a few of the coolest takeaways.
You’re at your peak for learning a new language at age 7.
The “critical period” hypothesis suggests that the best time to learn a language is between ages 6 and 7. Past this point, your brain isn’t quite as adept at acquiring to language skills, so your best bet is to start early.
However, adults can still learn new languages, and there’s been some pushback against this hypothesis since it can dissuade some people from trying.
At age 18, your brain’s processing power is at its peak.
That’s your raw speed for processing new information. Past that point, your processing power slows gradually over time.
Your brain is a complex organ, of course, so that doesn’t mean that other features don’t continue to improve—for example, your short-term memory will keep getting better until about age 25.
You’re most capable of lifting weights at age 25.
This isn’t much of a surprise, as that’s when most athletes reach their peaks. Muscle mass peaks around your mid-20s and men generally lose about 5 pounds of muscle mass per decade thereafter.
You’re at the top of your chess game at age 31.
Well, if you play chess regularly, anyway. This is about when the analytical skills used for chess are in top form.
Men reach their peak earning potential around age 48.
This has nothing to do with brainpower or physical prowess; it’s simply the age where you’re most likely to make the most money (if you’re a man, of course).
For women, pay growth slows in the 30s, then peaks around 39. We’re guessing that unfair double standards play a big role here—especially given that the median peak salary for women is $60,000, while it’s $95,000 for men.
At age 69, you’re most satisfied with your life.
Well, it’s actually a tie; you’re happy with your life in your early 20s, then your satisfaction dips. Around age 69, the satisfaction levels creep up again.
For what it’s worth, your vocabulary peaks at 71, and you’re happiest with your body around age 74. Your mileage may vary, but suffice to say, you’ve got something to look forward to—even if you’ve passed those milestones. At age 82, you’re at the peak of your psychological well being.
The full chart is certainly worth a look. Check it out here.