Glory days: Most seniors agree that their 20s or 30s were the happiest years of their lives

NEW YORK — If time travel were possible, a third of seniors would go back in time to relive a particular part of their lives, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 Americans over 65 finds that 36 percent wish they had the knowledge that they have today about different areas of life – like love, finances, or health. This information may have been so valuable that the same percentage claim they would have made different decisions when they were younger.

If they could relive any decade of their life, seniors would mostly opt for their 30s (30%) or 20s (25%), remembering these years as the happiest of their lives.

Conducted by OnePoll for BrightStar Care, the survey also found that if they had the chance to redo one major decision, people would have saved more money (20%) or invested earlier (14%), which may be why many wish they received better advice about money (39%) and education (38%) when they were younger.

However, half of seniors admit they’ve received advice from someone they didn’t think much of at the time, but followed later on. Similarly, 49 percent ignored some advice they were given. Still, 36 percent say, regardless of the past, they’re happy with their life as it is and the same percentage believe the errors they made in the past benefitted them by teaching valuable life lessons in the long run.

“It’s healthy to reminisce about your youth and take a deep look at all you have accomplished and learned through the years,” says Shelly Sun, founder and CEO of BrightStar Care, Shelly Sun, in a statement. “With age comes wisdom, and reflecting on past experiences can serve not only as cherished memories but as grounds to impart knowledge to younger generations.”

What advice would seniors give their younger selves?

Another 42 percent would miss their current life if things were different than they are now. When asked what advice they would give to their own selves in their 20s, respondents would “accept challenges,” tell themselves to “follow your intuition,” and “don’t be afraid to seize life.”

With the knowledge they have now, seniors would feel confident advising the younger generations about education (41%), money (37%), and health (36%). They’d also share wise words like “always be prepared,” “be humble at all times,” and “eliminate negative thoughts.”

Other respondents would tell people in their 20s that it’s important to “be patient and open to hearing and listening at the same time,” not “let others decide your choice for you,” and “enjoy every step in life.”

Aging is a privilege that should be celebrated at every stage of one’s life,” Sun continues. “In your twenties, it’s hard to imagine what your life will be when you’re 65+, however, if you sit back and listen to the powerful advice seniors have to offer, you’ll find worthwhile insights that can help prepare you for your future.”

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