Have You Peaked Yet?

Consider this chart, then your life and you tell me.

Photo: barnyz/Flickr

Worrying about whether or not you have achieved optimal success for the stage you are in your life is perfectly natural. Comparing oneself to others and their progress to their peers is fun until it’s not; lucky for you, there’s a chart that clearly lays out what you may have already achieved and what could possibly be in your future.

Here are the ages you peak at everything throughout life

This chart is a combination of information gleaned from various studies and the like, laid out visually because honestly, who wants to read words? That’s a joke — everyone loves words! — but seeing the trajectory of a life with its attendant cognitive milestones laid out presents a nice blueprint for either low-level anxiety about your achievements or inspiration on how to make the most of your brain’s peak power.

The most interesting bit to note here is this fun fact about salary. According to this chart, women earn the most when they’re 39, peaking at about $60,000. Men, on the other hand, peak ten years later, with earnings that top $95,000 — there’s that tricky wage gap again, sneaking up on you when you least expect it.

Given that sobering and utterly depressing fact, here’s something nice to consider: as per this chart, life satisfaction peaks for the second time at around 69. So, if you’re not 69 and are still dissatisfied with your life, understand that what your parents have always said about how things will get better when you’re older might actually be true. Or maybe you just stop caring as much! Either way, it’s something to look forward to. Peaking, for the record, is all relative anyway. One person’s peak is another’s deepest, darkest low.

What constitutes “peaking” anyway? At what point in our lives and our careers are we ever truly, deeply satisfied? There’s always going to be something else out there, whether it be a better job, more money, a newer house or a car that doesn’t splutter ineffectually every time you try to start it. The inverse of a peak is the inevitable descent. Consider chugging along at a steady hum, instead.

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