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[Review] Not too late to start in 30's or 40's. Actually, the best time with your peak creativity!

In a previous post, I mentioned that the most important thing in life is time, and it seems I'm at a point in my life where I'm thinking about that.

I read this academic article published last year on Established Adulthood. It says that life becomes more stable between the ages of 30 and 45, and we think differently than we did in our 20s. Our lives do not change continuously in a linear fashion but rather as we move up the stages.


Mehta, C.M., Arnett, J.J., Palmer, C., & Nelson, L. (2020). Established adulthood: A new conception of ages 30 to 45. American Psychologist, 75, 431-444. doi

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This period of established adulthood is one in which there is so much to do, but at the same time, time seems to be in short supply. Unlike in the past, women and men have to "build a family (including pets)" and "succeed at work" at the same time now. This stage is a happy but frustrating time. When you're in your twenties, you make many mistakes and turn them into experiences, but when you're an established adult, you don't want to waste your time trying different things.

That said, creativity peaks in the late 30s and early 40s. It is because creativity is easier to develop after a good level of expertise has been built. This professional creativity is more stable than the creativity of the twenties or even younger. Professional creativity means being open to new ideas, dealing with some uncertainty, and accepting intellectual risk based on experience. And this peak comes in the late 30s and early 40s.

According to the Midlife Follow-up Study (MIDUS), which has been running in the US since 1995, marriage and relationships are at their highest during this established adult period, and financial satisfaction is at its lowest. The reason for this lack of financial satisfaction is that they have to spend money on their family, house, children's education and paying off their own school loans. I have a similar experience. That's why I think people are hesitant to start a business or to start a new project when they are at their most creative. I vaguely remember reading once that the most successful start-ups are not in your 20s, but in your 30s and 40s, when you have developed some professional skills and contacts.

It's hard to find the right balance between time, money and relationships, but if you're thinking of starting something new in your 30s or 40s, it's not too late. - or perhaps the best time to start.

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