leSuppose that we have two people, Easton who reaches peak status earlier in life -- say at 25 -- and Landon who reaches peak status later at age 55. Their highest and lowest levels are the same, and they descend or ascend at the same rate. Let's say a level of 0 means the population average -- nothing above ordinary status -- and 30 is the maximum. So after getting through adolescence and becoming pretty independent by age 25, Easton starts at level 30 and declines by 1 each year until he gets to 0 at age 55. Landon starts at level 0 at age 25 and climbs by 1 each year until he reaches level 30 at age 55.
Assume that there are no other major differences, like the domain in which they achieve high status, and that they are physical and mental carbon copies of each other. So the only difference is going from level 30 to 0 vs. 0 to 30. Obviously both will feel great at level 30 and not so great at 0. Still, over the entire period from age 25 to 55, which one enjoys greater happiness, or is it the same?
I'll post my answer in a few days, but I'm interested in hearing others to see if there are any crucial things I've overlooked.