By Bunmi Sofola
Current research revealed that at the age of 34, the average woman should be having the time of her life. At that age, it revealed 34 as the age when women are at their happiest as they tick off some of life’s most important boxes, like settling down, establishing a career and buying a home. In case you’re wondering when are the other milestones, Tanith Carey, a sociologists gives the ultimate time – line of a woman’s life – from teens to retirement:
12 – The average age at which a girl becomes a woman is 12 years and seven months – although the exact timing of her first period will follow that of her mother, according to scientists at the University of London. They found that genes play the dominating role in the onset of menstruation, along with physical and environmental factors.
14 – Forget the terrible twos. With hormones kicking in, a girl is at her most tricky to deal with at the age of 14. Parents of teens interviewed for one study claimed that sulkiness and tantrums hit their peak at this age, due to conflicts over boys, make-up and drinking.
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16 – A year after her first kiss, at an average age of 15, the next important landmark for a girl will be losing her virginity. It seems that the age of consent is still relevant, because for most girls, it’s still 16 – a year after the average age for boys.
18 – Having lost her virginity two years earlier, by the age of 18 – a young woman is by now sexually experienced enough to enjoy her first orgasm with a partner.
20 – Even though the average girl today has been sexually active for four years by this stage, ideally she should have waited until 20 for the best chance of happy future relationships. Researchers at the University of Texas found those who waited to have their first lover were better educated, went on to have better paid jobs and enjoyed more satisfying marriages.
22 – The bland foods we liked as children are no longer enough to suit a woman’s more adventurous palette. Taste-buds stop regenerating as quickly at this age, enabling us to find stronger flavours, more palatable.
25 – Is the lowest point for a woman’s sexual confidence, due to worries about not having the perfect body and comparisons with how other women perform in bed.
27 – Women will fall in love on average four times during a lifetime and most will ‘settle down’ at the age of 27 – with a third being lucky enough to stick with their first love.
28 – Although many women are in long-term relationships by this age, it seems the desire to play the field is still strong. This is the point when they are most likely to cheat on their partners.
29 – The best age for a woman to snap up a property with her partner. This gives her time to upgrade to a bigger home when babies come along, and also means she’ll be mortgage-free by 61.
30 – It’s not always clear which comes first these days – but as well as 30 being the most common age for a woman to marry in the UK, official statistics say it’s now also the average age for a woman to have her first baby. Slightly different here in the country though some young women now get married late.
32 – After years of chopping and changing, it’s at 32 that women finally achieve their perfect hairstyle.
34 – This is the best possible age at which to give birth. Sociologists looking at the birth experiences of 3,000 women for the Journal of Health and Social Bahaviour found that those who delayed having a child until now had fewer complications (before the risks start to rise again with age), and were also more emotionally mature and financially secure.
35 – As they juggle work and parenthood, this is the age when women feel most stressed. If a woman hasn’t become a parent now after trying, it’s also at this age that she is most likely to start IVF, reports the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
38 – After getting their feet under the desk, 38 is the prime age to take a career break or go travelling. Researchers found that by now women feel financially stable and sufficiently well-established to take a break without their career paying the price.
39 – The average woman will be getting her highest salary now, but over a lifetime in work, she will earn 20 per cent less than a man in the same role, according to EU statistics.
40 – Life has to begin (again) at 40 for many women because this is the average age at which she is most likely to divorce, according to the Office for National Statistics. Men will be 43 at the time of their first marital break-up.
47 – Is the oldest age that most women feel comfortable in a bikini – going for one-pieces on their next birthday. It is also the age when women believe their looks begin ‘fading fast’.
49 – It’s time to slip back into baby mode for many women at this age. This is the birthday when you are most likely to become a grandmother for the first time, report researchers at the Future Foundation. During her lifetime, the average granny will go on to have 4.07 grandchildren.
50 – There are mixed blessings for women at 50. the good news is that it’s the average age when women become debt free, due to a combination of rising salaries and being left an inheritance. But visible signs of old age are advancing fast. While men tend to start going grey at the temples, women are also likely to be greying at their partings. A study published by the British Journal of Dermatology found that by 50, between 63 and 78 per cent had some grey hair.
51- This is the age at which most women finally stop having periods. It may not be a coincidence that this is the also the age when women believe they become invisible to men, who stop giving them appreciative smiles or open-doors for them.
52 – There may be a good reason that, at this age, actress Demi Moore looks so youthful, Saga magazine found that this is the moment when women are most prepared to entertain the idea of plastic surgery, with eyelid lifts being the most common procedure, followed by face-lifts and dermabrasion.
55 – At this stage in her life, a woman most feels like the filling in life’s sandwich.
A University of London study which followed the lives of more than 17,000 women born in the same week found that 55-year-old women take on the lion’s share of caring responsibilities for younger and older relatives. On the upside, 55 is also the average age of British millionaires, around 40 per cent of whom are women.
58 – It may have been a long time coming, but it turns out that 58 is the age women feel they have finally got that elusive work-life balance under control. A study found this is when we start to take proper lunch breaks at work, cut back on overtime and also get the right amount of leisure to enjoy our lives.
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60 – With more time to relax and no worries about pregnancy, it seems making love continues to be a popular pastime in the later years. Thirty-seven per cent of married people over 60 make love once a week or more, and 16 per cent make love several times a week, according to research.
63 – Sixty-three years and one month is the age when women finally start to take things easy and retire if they are still working, according to the Department for Work and Pensions. Men keep earning until they are 64 and seven months.
65 – It seems we never lose hope in love. A study by Age UK found that almost one in ten single people over 65 are keen to embark on a new sexual relationship. If they are already in a relationship, one in eight – 12 per cent – said they would like to try new things in bed with their partner.
82 – Average female life expectancy is now up to 82.9 years – a rise of nearly 12 months compared to 2007 and nearly four years more than men.