Numbers have an immense influence over people. But when it comes to age, things get a bit more serious. A new research found that people who are just about to enter a new decade of their lives (ages 29, 39, etc.) are more prone to making life-changing decision.
Humanity placed a great importance of chronology. Social learning is so powerful that we measure life trajectories according to specific time frames. But none of this takes place individually, because we measure our achievements and goals in relation to our age groups.
Hal Hershfield, psychologist at UCLA and Adam Alter, researcher at NYC University, published a paper on the matter in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They found that just before a chronological chapter gets close to an end, people tend to engage in new experiences, like running for a marathon and even having an extramarital affair.
The 9th year can be considered a transition to a new life cycle. “And transitions, they make us step back, they make us evaluate things,” Hershfield told Science of US in an interview. “Once you’re in the midst of something, it’s easier to keep your head down and just go, go, go. But when you take a step back, that’s when you say, ‘Wait, let me see how everything’s going here,’” he added.
Hershfield and Alter analyzed the more than 40,000 answers found in the World Value Survey. They noticed that “9-enders” tended to question the meaning of life more often than respondents from other age groups.
Next, the duo analyzed another set of data to see if “9-enders” actually engage in new experiences. They checked a marital dating site and discovered that men at 29, 39, etc, are overly represented. In fact, they make up 18 percent of the male members. In the case of women, the effect was noticeable, but weaker than in the case of men.
Athlinks, a website where marathon finishing times are recorded, was the researchers’ next target. It seems that people who are 30, 40, or more, managed to achieve better results than people of other ages. To break your personal record, you would need to train harder and this is what those people did when they were around their last year before the first digit went up.
In the end, it appears that people view these moments as proper occasions to get a fresh start.