I am 25, and according to a new study, I should be the happiest I will ever be. Free from the stresses and responsibilities of family life, I should be carefree, secure and confident. But is this true?
Surveying 2,000 women, the study conducted by beauty firm Inner Me found that women are on average happiest at the age of 25. Fast-forward 9 years and it's all gone wrong: at the age of 34 women are at their most pressured, stressed and unhappy.
The overall findings of the survey were sad. One in five women (18 per cent) are unhappy due to stress; one in eight (12 per cent) thought that men were happier than women; and Scottish women between 35 and 44 are the unhappiest in Britain.
It collated the top ten causes of stress, with finances coming in first, followed by health and wellbeing of family and friends. Next, women worried about the happiness of their children, having a good family life, and loosing their looks. Careers came in eighth, followed by spending time with family and friends, and finally fitness levels.
The best stress buster would be an increase in earnings, whilst looks were a large contributing factor to women's unease. 53 per cent said they were worried they were overweight, whilst 27 per cent wanted better teeth.
I think it is true that there are additional pressures on women in their mid-thirties, however, the eternal optimist, I would not like to think it's all downhill from here.
At 25, it is certainly true that I don't have to worry about children, however I do have other pressures. At this age I am still finding my feet, becoming completely independent, and trying to get on the career ladder. I also have a large amount of debt from my studies.
Since graduating, I have done a number of internships meaning I have met other young women my age in exactly the same position. It is a very uncertain, if not exciting time and we live from one day to the next. Nothing is definite, and we don't know what we will be doing next week, let alone in six months time. We could get one job, another internship, or we could be unemployed!
Writing in The Telegraph, Radhika Sanghani argued that for our generation, 'the millennials', at the age of 25 we are living an emotional roller-coaster. With a faltering economy, competitive globalised job market, and large debts, many of us are struggling to find security.
Feeling pretty mature, we are also in a limbo period. Eloquently explained by Britney Spears, we are "not a girl, not yet a woman".
Happiness in itself is something that is hard to quantify. We can feel it intensely one minute, and it can be gone the next. Sometimes we have a good day, the sun is shining and all is right with the world, yet another could see us conflicted and low. Also, it's hard to generalise: there is not one archetypal 25-year-old, every woman is different and at a different life stage.
As life goes on, happiness and stress reach peaks and troughs. Life events like getting married, having a child or getting your first job will all inspire different emotions. Happiness shouldn't be pinned to impermanent things like looks; instead it should come from a richer, more holistic love for life. I for one hope this isn't the happiest I will ever be, and aim to still enjoy and cherish life at the age of 99.Suggest a correction