You’ve heard that phrase before—but what does it mean? What are the best years of your life, anyway?
People speculate that your youth should be the best years of your life—but what is youth, exactly? Is it being a toddler? A teen? A young adult? The list goes on and on.
Is It Strictly an Age Thing
I read an article years ago where researchers tried to determine the “best decade.” They’d heard that phrase so often, they wanted to figure it out for themselves.
So, they asked people of all living generations—from twenties to seventies—what the best decade was. What did they find? What did their research uncover?
There wasn’t one.
That’s right. When they looked at the results of the questionnaire, they found there was no agreement among any of the individuals. What they did notice was when they grouped people by their respective ages, they mostly agreed on a particular decade.
What the researchers found is that every group had picked the decade when they were in their twenties.
So, that begs the question—why didn’t anyone know they were having their best years until after those years had passed?
It appears that the best years of your life are the ones when you have the most hope, big dreams, imagination, and plenty of possibility. They are the years when you feel you have control and influence over your situation.
So, the best years aren’t the years when good things are actually happening—they’re when you believe that good things will be happening.
Are They the Best Years? Or, Simply the Past?
Looking back, it’s always easy to see mistakes or missed opportunities—hindsight is 20/20, as they say.
But looking forward is like trying to see into the unknown—it’s the future and it’s full of possibility.
Sometimes, though, people get so anchored in their past they can never move beyond it—for that reason, they lament about what could have been, what should have been, what would have been, had they said or done something differently.
But that’s the point. You didn’t. You made the choices that led you here.
“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”
– Paulo Coehlo, The Zahir
The fact is, you are who you are now, and you were who you were then. If you had done it differently, there are still no guarantees that anything would have ultimately turned out drastically different, right?
“Where you are is a result of who you were, but where you end up depends entirely on who you choose to be from this moment forward.”
– Hal Elrod
It’s Harmful to Spread the Myth of “The Best Years”
People who have regrets say these things, —and as a result, they poison us with their dysfunction.
Misery loves company, right? People who would have you believe that there are such things as “the best years” are miserable. These are the people who have given up hope.
“The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.”
The Best is Yet to Come
What makes up the years is more important than the number that you are when you experience them. It is also said:
“Youth is the most beautiful thing in this world – and what a pity it has to be wasted on children!”.
– George Bernard Shaw
Not all youth is based on a number— youth is a frame of mind. You know people who are “young at heart”—they possess a zest for life.
The best years don’t have any specific rules—they don’t even have to be contiguous. In fact, they can just as easily be broken up into subsections.
Your best year may be your next year. It is your choice to strive to make each new year better than the ones before it.
Ask yourself: if I had a good year, then why can’t I do that again?
Why couldn’t you? Why not make the next one the best yet?
The truth is that people can—and do—have their best years at many different ages.
It’s never too late for you to have your best years!
The Best Year Challenge
This week’s challenge for you is not to think of the past—don’t think of the best year, think of your future.
What will your “next best year” look like?
Will you find new relationships?
Will you repair broken relationships?
Will you end bad relationships?
Don’t forget to let me know what you find – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Good Together: Your Guide to happy, healthy relationship
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