Early adulthood, broadly speaking, encompasses one’s twenties and thirties. This is the stage of our biological and physical development at which we are at our strongest, fittest, and healthiest. Our hearing and sight are at their peak, as is our cardiovascular fitness and our muscle strength. Early adulthood is thus often described as “the prime of life” because in this stage we are relatively free of the physical restraints which limit us, to some degree, in later stages of our development.
Early adulthood is also often described as “the prime of life” because, socially, we typically have at this stage of our lives lots of freedoms with relatively few obligations. Compared with earlier stages, namely childhood and adolescence, one’s early adulthood is a time of independence. We are free from the rules that our parents might have obliged us to follow. Compared to later stages of life, namely middle age and old age, we are also, in early adulthood, often free from the social limitations which come, for example, with having one’s own family, buying a house, or trying to hold down and progress in a job.
The characteristics of early adulthood which mean that it is often described as “the prime of life” are, therefore, freedom, independence, and physical health. All of these positive characteristics are emphasized in contrast to the absence or diminishing of those same characteristics in earlier and later stages of life.