The meaning of life is a question that has been pondered by every human on the planet. Philosophers have devoted their lives to the study of it and books on the subject fly to the top of bestseller lists. The quest for purpose is core to our human experience.
Scientists are making fascinating discoveries about this shared search, and it turns out there is an age when people feel the most significant meaning in their life. Not surprisingly, peak purpose doesn’t tend to happen earlier in life, but on the later side. After researching people aged 21 to 100, it was found that people’s sense of meaning generally reaches an all-time high around age 60.
Yay! We can all rejoice. Just keep chugging through until you hit your 60’s and then bam! Smooth sailing.
Yes, people’s sense of meaning was increased at this time of life, but it didn’t stay that way. By mid-60s the tension of the search begins to grow again.
In part, the reason for this can be explained by the ways we derive meaning. The researchers described these factors as a sense of identity, relationships, goals and positively affecting the world. As young people in the 20s to 30s range, the sense of looking for meaning is high. At this age we are figuring out who we are, trying things out and defining those key people in our lives. Though stressful, this is important and totally normal. It’s around 60 years of age that all those efforts hit their optimal returns, and people feel a sense of meaning from the lives they’ve been building for themselves.
Now, that’s all well and good, but does it last? As life continues to change people once again find themselves facing those core questions. Long story short is this—the search for purpose is a continuous journey through our lives.
That may sound frustrating to some, but you know what else it means? You don’t have to wait until you’re 60 to find the meaning of life. Embrace the search, explore and pursue your dreams now.
There is also the great added strength we have of God’s promises to us. He designed our lives to always be moving forward, as well as, full of wonder and discovery. Just look at 2 Corinthians 3:18:
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Even as we walk out the mystery and search for our purpose, we can rest every day in the promise that our forward movement isn’t just horizontal, but vertical. As we do our best to outwork our purpose with God, we are guaranteed a story with a triumphant ending. With each step on the road, we go from glory to glory to glory.