At the age of forty, life only really begins.
Did you fill recently 43 years? Congratulations. Based on the statistics, you are your age average Finn and you are probably living the best time of your life right now.
Middle-aged people are usually defined as 40-60 years old, sometimes also 35-60 years old. One way or another, middle age has a bad reputation in people’s minds. It’s like a birthday cake slipping on the floor: a great past behind, a miserable future ahead. The rest of the life slides downhill. There are promises of crises, losses and squabbling.
There could be nothing more wrong. At the age of forty, life only really begins. According to several studies, the average age is the best time for many, prime time. People in their forties, fifties and sixties are mostly happy with their lives. With most satisfaction even grow.
Average age is, in fact, a triumph of evolution, and its forties and sixties its best A-group, says a biologist from the University of Cambridge David Bainbridge in his book Middle Age: a Natural History that is, freely translated, the natural history of the Middle Ages. In middle age, youth is seen, adulthood is spun and making unnecessary fuss away.
According to David Bainbridge, people in their 40s and 60s represent an elite of all-experienced and skilled super-survivors on whom the rest of society depends. Younger people learn vital skills from them and pass them on.
It is true that the mind and body slow down with age, but it happens over time late. For example, linguistic ability and reasoning ability may even improve in middle-aged people. They backfire on their younger ones when it comes to making long-term plans, picking up essentials from a huge body of information, or sharing work creatively among a gang. Someone could call it wisdom.
Many we do our best and most significant work in middle age. Nobel laureates often achieve their biggest breakthroughs at an average age of 40 years.
The thoughts of a middle-aged person may not be better or worse than those of others, but they are likely to be different. Imaging studies have found that middle-aged and young people may use different areas of the brain performing exactly the same tasks. Age shapes the way you think.
Inevitably, the flying statement of Matti Nykänen, a thinker known to the whole nation, comes to mind: “Life is a person’s best time”. Or should I say middle life?
The author is the forerunner of the science editorial