Are you a child at heart? Or have you always felt old beyond your years? How old we feel may be defined by the different experiences we associate with childhood and adulthood, a new study finds. UK firm Fly Research recently conducted a study on the factors that define the stages of life, interviewing 2000 Britons 18 years old and over. They discovered people don’t see age in terms of years, but in terms of major life events. In fact, most don’t feel like they’ve really “grown up” until age 29.
According to Mic, the researchers asked interviewees to list major life events and interests they associate with either childhood or adulthood. Buying a home (64 percent of interviewees listed this one) topped the list for adulthood, followed by having kids, getting married, and maintaining a pension. Participants also listed “getting excited about staying in for the night” and hosting dinner parties.
On the other hand, relying on parents for money (42 percent mentioned this), living at home, playing computer games, watching cartoons, and enjoying kids’ movies like Inside Out or Frozen made them feel forever young.
Despite being able to drive and vote, taking longer and longer to hit those adulthood milestones made participants feel as if they couldn't let go of their adolescence.
But having Peter Pan syndrome isn't all bad news. The New York Times argues that there are benefits to having more time to mature: it “fosters novelty-seeking and the acquisition of new skills.” As the old saying goes, age is just a number.