When is the prime of life? This is a personal question which different people answer differently. Still, there is a general agreement among people in America today that the prime of life is somewhere between 40 and 60. Businessmen are likely to place their prime between 40 and 50 and to say that a man gets his top job by about 45. Professional men may place their prime at 50 or even 55, while manual workers regard the prime of life as between 30 and 40. Women vary in their notions about the prime of life more than men do, some women thinking of their thirties as their prime, when their children were young, while others place the prime of life in the fifties, after the children are grown and have left the home.
It seems likely that people now think of the prime of life as coming later than they did a century ago. The latter half of life now seems more inviting, and also something (as Mr. Tibbitts has explained) more to be counted on, than was true a century ago.While there are still many who moan and groan inwardly when they reach their 40th birthday, there are a growing number who ignore 40 and rejoice when they reach 50, because they feel they can begin to enjoy the fruits of the first 50 years of life.A few years ago a Paris newspaper held an essay contest with the title "The Best 10 Years of Life." The prize was won by a Frenchman who said that the decade from 50 to 60 was the best, for the following reasons:
1. A man's daughters, if he has them, are married off and their dowries paid.
2. A man's business competitors are either too old to be effective, or too young to be experienced.
3. Inherited wealth has come, if there is to be any.
4. A man can really enjoy his leisure-time interests.
What this man saw at 50 was a set of changes which, on the whole, made life more interesting and rewarding to him.