You may have already lived the time of your life. Maybe that was the time you spent at college or the moment you realized how grown up you have become and what plenitude of new experiences awaits you. You may have even decided to live each day to the fullest. If so, you can consider yourself lucky! Have you already lived the best year of your life is the question scientists explored.
Centre of Economic Performance of the London School of Economics has conducted a research in Germany exploring the gap between our expectations and real life. There were 23,000 participants in this survey, age 17 – 85. They gave answers regarding their life expectations in the following 5 years. However, the main question was focused on their current satisfaction with their lives.
Fast forward 5 years, the researchers revisited the participants to compare their previous answers with their current satisfaction. The interesting thing happened. Namely, senior citizens appeared to be more satisfied in life and ready to embrace life fully. The best year of your life should be 69 if you are senior and 23 if you still consider yourself young.
Apparently, as people approach 70, they become more fearless. There are no hold backs or remorse. Whatever happened in the past, should stay in the past. In their 60ies and early 70ies people are in a stage when they have nothing else to do than to enjoy the fruits of their work.
The Young Ones
Interestingly, we usually perceive young people as happy and full of enthusiasm. However, the survey has showed people in their 20ies have a lot of hesitations and doubts in spite of their readiness to take over the world. The best year of your life in youth should be when you reach 23. It seems that after the age of 23 the careless life as we know it, vanishes.
Most importantly, this survey has brought an important fact to the spotlight. Young people usually have high expectations in life. They tend to overestimate happiness. Comparing to older people who have experienced life in all of its forms, overestimating happiness comes as a shortcoming.
If overestimating happiness is actually letting happiness slip through your fingers, does it mean that we should not have any expectations at all? Well, no. The researchers say that balancing expectations and reality is the key. This is, of course, difficult to achieve. Maybe the solution would be setting achievable goals. If it happens that one achieves more than he or she hoped for, great!
In the meantime, we should all try enjoying simple things in life. Have you called your family recently, to have a chat or a meal together? How about a friend with whom you haven’t sat for a coffee for a long time? Did you take a stroll or read a book, or went to the movies?