We’re sorry to depress you, but here it goes: according to some senior citizens who’d better damn well be lying, all the most important memories of your life are made by the time you’re twenty-five.
Well, according to the seniors and the psychologists researching them, anyway. Their study, published in Memory, is pretty straightforward: they asked thirty-four members of a retirement community, aged 59-92, to tell them their life stories. Said life stories mainly consisted of marriages, children, big moves, attending college, military life, first jobs, and all that stuff that makes up the first fifteen minutes of Pixar’s Up! Researchers followed this up with clarifying at what age the seniors were during their recounted memories, and it turns our that the vast majority happened prior to the age of twenty-five. To repeat: when asked for their life story, most seniors seem to think that all the important points are covered pretty early in their lives.
That said, if you’re already over twenty-five (and our Google Analytics account says that’s pretty likely), don’t fret. A few things could be happening. Later generations have “grown up” at a bit of a slower rate than people in their sixties and older; we’re marrying, having kids, and working later, so that might shift things. And of course, just because a senior citizen thinks that a memory is important to their life story doesn’t necessarily mean that said memory was a good one—the terrible parts of our lives play a big role in making us who we are, and seniors might just be the ones with enough perspective to recognize that.
Anyway, that’s still some food for thought: if someone asked for your life story tomorrow, would you be able to provide an interesting answer?