If you had a pill that could stop biological aging in its tracks, when would you take it? This is the question that gerontologist from the University of Chicago, Jay Olshansky, 63, has been asking. The researcher has been investigating ways to slow down the process of aging, by studying things like the genetics of long-lived individuals. And it looks like each person has its perfect age.
He first asked his students. Many think 30 years old, so they would take the pill in their 20s. He then asked his father, then 95 years old, who said 50 was the best year because the kids were grown and he was in good health. For Olshansky the best age is now, at 63. “But if I had to pick the perfect year, it would probably be 50, because that was before I began having little aches and pains,” he said.
Perfect age. Researchers, like the gerontologist, are trying to understand the mysteries of longevity and at what ages we feel our best and why. They measure, worry and stress levels at different times in our life and peak years for having fun, the hoping being that if people reach satisfaction with life at a certain age, they might have advice for the rest of us. However, this time varies according to the life experiences of individuals. Such exploration in the world of science and health is putting a more concrete focus on the seemingly inscrutable question of the perfect age.
Some of their findings might surprise us. Many people in their 50s don’t want to be 30. 70-year-olds are among the most satisfied, perhaps because they are also among the group seen as “time affluent”.
Less surprising is that no one, regardless of age, wants to look or feel old, which is why antiaging creams that promise to remove wrinkles and eye bags sell so well.
But is there an age that is better than all the rest? No, says Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. “There are too many variables,” she says. For some people, the perfect age is when our opportunities are greatest. For others, it’s when life satisfaction is greatest, which skews older. Others say it’s when they are at their physical peak or have the most friends – in their 20s or 30s. Click here to read the full