Off Topic: The Best Years Of Your Life?

What is the best age to be? At what point in your life were you the happiest/having the most fun/most fulfilled?

For me personally, if I had to make a rough guess I'd say it looks something like this...

30s > 0-12 > 20s >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 13-20

So yeah, being a teenager pretty much sucks, at least I thought so. Probably the most frustrating time in my own life for a number of reason.

That being said I'm 'only' 33 (probably older than most of you). I wonder if things get easier as you move towards middle age or worse?

How does it look for you? Let us know in the comments below.


    That being said I’m ‘only’ 33 (probably older than most of you)

    Except for me, @aliasalpha, and old lady @strange.

    Best period of my life would have to be my twenties, now I'm approaching double that, and it feels like it's all downhill from here.

      Oldie here too at young whipper snappers! *smacks @markserrels with walking frame*

      Last edited 19/08/14 12:04 pm

        35 here too. No kids, but life still gets in the way of gaming. Family crap, full-time work, house work etc.

        I enjoyed my early teens for gaming, that was back in the nes/snes days. Loved having mum take me to the video store to hire a game for the weekend and go crazy until I finished it. Ah, all day gaming, where have you gone?

      Well I'm 39 but @Longjocks is a month older than me so he might be the oldest here now.

      As for the happiest bit... still waiting for that to happen. Maybe one day. At least gaming is there to take my mind off the depression in the meantime and taking the piss out of Longjocks is always a help on account of how much he sucks.

      I'm still mad at @aliasalpha for taking my "oldest" title from me. Be younger, dammit! :P

      As for the question of the best years of my life? Always the one I'm in. I had some pretty tough times in my teens (didn't we all?) but since then, while going through more tough stuff I've always to managed to find something good to hold onto, even if it's just new music to listen to, or skills to learn.
      It took me until my thirties to properly begin enjoying life though, my twenties were full of fear and not knowing who I was. Very much looking forward to seeing how my forties go in a couple of years. :D

        I liked reading this. I'm 26 now, just out of a long term relationship and still not really knowing what I'm doing or feeling like an adult. Good to know that your 30's aren't so bad!

          Pro-tip: nobody ever feels like an adult. Not even my almost 90-year-old Grandmother. :D

        I had some pretty tough times in my teens (didn't we all?)No.

        Mainly because I never actually got around to being a teen until well after I'd finished actually being a teen :P

    I enjoyed 15-18. Was in the best shape of my life, enjoyed school sports, no rent, part time job, loads of time for gaming, starting to go out/party, etc. I'm 24, so (I hope) there's plenty of time for this to change.

    Still waiting on the happiest times for me :S
    So far it'd be, probably 7-12, but everything after that has sucked :\

    I'm hoping that >23 is where I'll find my happiness and feel most fulfilled :)

      Nah, 21 onward. :)

      (Edit: Also, happy birfday.)

      Last edited 19/08/14 11:49 am

        Hahaha, thanks, but I think I'll feel free and happy after I finish uni :P
        I know people say that uni years are some of the best, but those people are liars!

    I can't define an age that was the best years of my life. Teenage years were awful. No doubt.

    In my adult years the good times happen about as often as the bad times. Although as I've gotten older (32 right now) I understand a lot more what it is I want to do. My early to mid twenties were pretty directionless.

    32 now and life is finally falling into place. Have an amazing wife and a beautiful, healthy 3 month old daughter. Sure we still have some debt and am currently out of work but am still happier now than I have ever been even when I was working full time and had cash to burn in my early 20s.

    Now for me.
    20 and have low rent and layed back full time work that pays well enough as i get qualified.
    Beats the 7$ a hour i used to be on when i was 17.

    I'd always heard it's all downhill after 21. And I think I agree :P

    I think the best years were from the end of highschool through to the end of uni. 17-21. Probably had the most fun then. But I guess there's been plenty of good since then too, and probably skewed a bit from a few things. Still, my 21st stands out as an awesome night and time that I wish I could go back to.

      Try something new in life!! I promise you, life gets better if you take chances and try things you have never tried before!

        I think my problem could be the other way around. I keep doing all manner of different things and going every which way, but now I am without any sense of direction at all.

          Yeah I'm pretty much the same. :) I'm a musician/vocalist, designer, photographer, videographer, snowboarder, mountain biker and all round adventure enthusiast. :) You CAN do it all but you need to take it in small pieces at a time! Old saying, "Find something you love to do and find a way to make money out of it."

            Yeah. It's the latter part of that saying that's the toughie :P

              What do you like to do then?? :)

                I feel like I need to do something more with my music, beyond just sitting at home playing to myself. And I have made a bit of headway on that, been trying to keep an eye out for bands and stuff looking for new members (though it seems like it's nearly entirely garage/pub rock bands looking for drummers and bassists, which doesn't help me). Have got a lead on that that I've been following up for the last couple of months, but going's slow.

                Otherwise, I'm a lazy programmer. Got a couple of things I'd like to get around to doing, but... yeah. Actually there was a largish project I was all set to jump onto but right after that happened I got a job and suddenly lost all that free time. Would like to get back onto that at some point, I haven't really done any programming since December.

                The other thing that I love doing is just generally making things. Most often tends to end up being costumes, usually for friends' parties and such rather than conventions, nearly everything I've worn to a convention has been a reused party outfit. Most recently did a Shredder one which (rather than being pieced together with stuff from op-shops) was basically done from scratch, so involved jumping on the sewing machine. That was cool.

                  I'll tell you right now, as a musician who has been there and done that, it is a HARD road. Especially with naturally leaning towards a melancholy, personality it doesn't mix well. I only do solo acoustic gigs nowdays and LOVE it. I went on a two year hiatus and came back more passionate than ever.

                  Lazy programmer doesn't seem like you are passionate about it. Costume design seems like a better option! Considered TV stuff? Mate, go offer your services, do work experience for them! Honestly throw your foot in the door somewhere and give it a crack! Do it for free at first and meet people. People, employees especially are attracted to passionate people. For my business I did SOOO many freebies it was ridiculous! Now though I have some steady work coming in! I still work on the side as well to keep the income coming in but it's all coming together!

                  If you continue music too. Don't go in with the intention of making it big. If it happens, kudos to you. Make sure you ENJOY music. A lot of the time you won't make money off it, but man, it's a fun road to walk down. :)

                  @newtsfactor Yeah, I never really thought I'd be able to do much with music. I don't know how to make music at all, all I can do is play fairly well. Hence why it's always just been me mucking around at home by myself. But it gets hard after a while, with nothing really driving you to keep going and running out of stuff to play, just going over the same old songs again and again.

                  The programming thing is... actually it's kind of similar. I don't do it much by myself because I don't really think of anything to do. I love it once I actually get into it though, so all through college I was having a blast. Like I'll just keep at it and stay up all night hammering away at a problem I'm trying to solve. Overall I think I'm stuck being a guy who's good at creative things, without actually being all that creative :P

                  @mrtaco "Overall I think I'm stuck being a guy who's good at creative things, without actually being all that creative :P"

                  Been there. Thing is you sound like you need inspiration! Go travel, as I said, try something new! I find that my creative spark comes out of inspiration and inspiration comes through getting out and trying something new/adventurous. Watch videos of others work and lives and be inspired not put down by their work!

                  Try some new styles of music to learn. My bro is a bass player, an amazing one at that and he tries learning everything. From math rock to classical. Try learning guitar! Maybe another instrument! Plenty of free resources out there to get you started and I will tell you now you will surprise yourself. Learn to sing maybe? I started music when I was 18, which is quite late for a lot of people but now people are paying me to play at their venues.

                  I find the best motivation in life as hard as it is, is just getting outside. As much as I LOVE sitting down and playing games and keeping in my house, the best thing for me is to be outside. This is my personal view anyway. :) Seriously, if I can help you out anymore let me know! Hope this makes sense!

    I'm 28 now. I'm settling into a full time job which I was meant to quit 4 years ago but didn't because my partner/fiance cheated on me and I had a bit of a nervous breakdown after we broke up. My best years were 25-27, when I was recovering and suddenly felt better about myself than I ever had, like I could do anything, and I kinda did. Did most of the things I always wanted to, and then suddenly hit a wall where I realised there's a lot I want to do I probably can't, and alot I "should" be doing, that I'm not. ahhhh growing up.

    Now I'm starting to slow down and set my sights a little lower. I mean, I don't feel as great or as invincible as then but its more of a humble comfortableness with myself

      DO NOT set your sights lower! Why can't you aim big? Grow up, not old. :)

        I'm just nearing 30 and over the past few years it's been becoming harder and harder not to feel like all the good ones are taken. It doesn't make settling seem like a great idea but it adds a pressure to find something now or risk being stuck settling for even worse later. It doesn't help seeing people settle. As horrible as it is to say it's like 'damn, they're both clearly lowering their standards and I wouldn't choose to marry either of them, does that mean if I eventually do choose to settle I'll have to aim even lower?'.
        I think that's mostly due to the fact a lot of people in my age group are still in the newlywed phase, having children or getting married (and on top of that there's the usual peopel in long term relationships). If I stop and think about it I know tons of great people who are single, it's just that at this age marriage gets a lot more of the spotlight.
        It doesn't help that I don't even have a solid idea of what I want. Is it settling to say that maybe I was mistaken when I thought 'Olympic Sextronaut' was a vital part of my ideal partner? Honestly I'd like a wife who enjoys cooking but I've never actually noticed when that's not there in a relationship. So is taking it off my vague list of preferences lowering my standards or just throwing a wider net?

          I married a girl who was the complete opposite of me. For years I dated girls who were similar to my own persona. I did throw the net open a little wider in a sense and do not regret it one bit. One thing you need to do when dating, this is for guys and girls is give the person a chance. I have a few friends of mine who were hesitant in dating people due to first impressions etc and now they are happily married enjoying life and loving it!

          Honestly marriage is awesome but unfortunately in life as big as it is, we make it out to be something that is way bigger than what it needs to be. My marriage is not what I thought it would be previous to getting hitched. It's fun and adventurous!

          Too often, guys especially just want a 'Olympic Sextronaut' (please trademark that) and don't see the other amazing things you can do with your wife. We run together, ride, surf, travel, hike and adventure. She, not being a gamer at all now just started to play Mario Kart with me! It's nice having someone who doesn't have all the same interests. She likes dancing, I don't, but damn I gave it a shot and now I can salsa! Haha. I promise you the right one is out there. Whether it is a girl, a job or something fresh in your life. I'm living testament to that.

          I actually met my wife online. NEVER wanted to do that, but you know what? People online, on the right sites are more likely to be looking for something serious. Most people at bars/pubs etc won't be the ones you'll stick with. :)

          Good luck mate!

    Now. 32 here! Just opened my own business, live in a small regional town with lots of outdoor activities, learning more and more each day, own a house, amazing wife, great friends and have lots of hobbies and video games to play with. Life is what YOU make it. Try something new something you didn't even think you'd like! You'll surprise yourself!

      Just opened my own business

      I'm loving right now, but if I could go back and explain to myself that owning my own business meant freedom not stress I think I would have had a much better 21-26 range. It took about two days of owning my own business before I realised I don't hate work I just hate being told what to do. =P

        Serious. Bit rough at the start with initial costs but man, I am still working on the side until this takes off on its own! Loving it though, it's what I love doing and having creative control, wow, it's a good feeling!

          Can I ask what your business is?

            Digital video media. I do design on the side as well but primarily focus on editing & shooting. :)

    My turn. I'm the same as you Mark - 30s > 0-12 > 20s > 13-20. Some of my fondest memories are playing my brother at NES, then Snes, then N64 (can you tell which side of the fence we fell on?) But that wasn't to say there weren't times I felt excluded, alone, confused, angry etc etc when I was a small kid. But those feelings definitely intensified when I got into my teens.

    Then when depression kicked in I was a mess for a good while into my 20s. But now I'm 30, I've got two kids under 3, an amazing wife, a not-flash but good-enough job that at least lets me pay the bills, and a house. I haven't actually played games in about six or seven years (Fallout 3 was the last game I played), missing out on the whole last console generation entirely, and I couldn't be happier.

    I feel comfortable in my own skin in my 30s, all this added responsibility has given me more confidence than I've ever had because I know I can deal with a lot of grown up shit. I'd also recommend being a volunteer firefighter as you learn some amazing skills, make pretty good and reliable friends, and come face to face with some confronting things but learn the tools to deal with it.

    I've been saving up for the past three years and by October I'll have enough money to buy the Greatest Gaming Rig To End All Gaming Rigs. Then, then I shall find true peace.

    Last edited 19/08/14 11:35 am

      Then, then I shall find true peace*.
      *Outside of the upgrade cycle

    30s are the best years! Old enough to know what you want in life, young enough to do something about it.

    Last edited 19/08/14 11:36 am

      Speak for yourself, I still don't know what the hell I wanna be when I 'grow up'! ;)

        Only found out what I wanted to do last year. 32 here. There is still hope.

    Im 30 now but pretty much my life from 13 till now has been best years :D
    Left home at 13 and never looked back.
    Awesome Teen years, was poor, homeless, got bullied at school, but made some amazing friends that i still have and would hide a body for without question.
    Loved my 20's experienced life, women, parties and just enjoyed freedom
    and now very very happy in my current years.

    its incredible how having a bad childhood can make you a better person if you don't let it drag you down, just have to have a massive stubborn streak to not want to end up like your family.

    Last edited 19/08/14 11:49 am

    While at 33 I am no less sad and lonely than I have been for the last 33 years of my life, at least now I can afford to do the things that make me happy - whether buying video games or travelling. So I guess now is mostly okay out of all of it so far.

    ....Not having a job that I hate probably helps too - I don't love it, but it also hasn't triggered my depression either, unlike my last role (yaaaay workplace bullying).

    Last edited 19/08/14 11:57 am

      Yeah, stick to doing the things that give you joy. Everything else doesn't deserve to be a part of your life. Hope you remedy the loneliness some day mate, you never know where you might meet that special someone, you just have to be aware of your surroundings and recognise any potential opportunities as such. Hope that grossly generalised and vague advice helps!

        you never know where you might meet that special someone

        Or more importantly when. My dad was... I dunno, old enough to have a 31 year old daughter when he met his current girlfriend and they're great together (although to be fair he married my mum even though they weren't great together, and the less said about my ex-step mother the better). My step dad's mum met her husband at like 45 and they're about as perfect for each other as you can get.

        Last edited 19/08/14 1:49 pm

          Yeah, the older I've got, the more I understand that it doesn't have to be a "you're married by the time you're 25 or 30 or whatever or you're rubbish." Like it would be nice not to be on my own, but I still have hope! I'm only young...(ish)!

        That's what I figured. If I keep doing the things that make me happy then at least I'll be doing things that make me happy and hopefully someone will come along and do these things with me to!

        Problem is that I am completely oblivious though. I have no idea when people like me, and only usually find out years after when someone is like "oh yeah, so & so REALLY liked you." Thanks, friend, for telling me that when it's of absolutely no use to me.

          Ha, I got that a lot too. Those friends are jerks :P

    High school was the fucking bomb. I was king shit. Of course, the 20s start out pretty bloody rough when the rest of the larger world outside insisted that I wasn't, but I spent a very educational time grabbing it by the throat to try and prove otherwise. 'Fun' in its way... if a tad misspent. 30s would be damn awesome if it weren't for the hardships facing loved ones and how deeply that affects me.

    I'm gonna go with 'high school' as the best, with the 30s set to make a surprise come-back to pull in front and win.

    Same as you mark, although unfortunately, I've lost my wife to my battles with depression, we have an adorable 20 month old son who I will always treasure.
    I only just recovered from depression last year after 15 years of battling it and unfortunately, the toll on my wife and partner of 13 years was too much for her to handle and we split earlier this year. I now find myself in the situation where I am at my most happiest yet, simultaneously, at my most heartbroken.
    I guess time heals all wounds as they say, but I'm not sure if it's true in my case. Nonetheless, I won't let depression back in again and affect my life with my son.

      Hope all is well man.

        I'm doing my best mate, unfortunately with having depression so long, I don't have many friends left so I'm doing my best with those that I have and trying to make new ones. It's definitely not easy though. I am determined to never ever go back to how I was. I want my little boy to know that I am someone he can depend on.

          Maybe lurk on TAY for a bit (the regular 'Talk Amongst Yourselves' comment thread), see if you like what you see.

          Last edited 19/08/14 12:10 pm

            We should tag @haggis in everything for a while. That'll do the trick.
            Although maybe we should wait until it's not all horses and Gooky doppelgangers.... :P

            Last edited 19/08/14 3:27 pm

          If any of those friends you still do have are considered good friends then that is worth a thousand casual friends. Your lucky to even have a few friends left. Everyone's circumstances are different' I love my best friend 11 years ago and haven't really made any friends since. Kids are such an awesome way to focus your mind and occupy your time, and if you're a good enough Dad, as I'm sure you are, then your son can be the best friend you could ever hope for.

            Thank you :)
            All my love and energy is focused on my son when I have the chance to see him and I hope that he will be able to see that as he gets older.

      OK so this may come across as insensitive and normally i'd be ok with that because i dont usually care what other people think, but in this case i mean no disrespect in what im about to say, im actually 100% seriously curious how people get depression?

      I've had a very messed up life and by all rights probably should be dead, in jail, a drug addict or worse, If i told you stories of my life you probably wouldn't believe me its that bad.
      however i feel great about myself and my life, and have for most of it.

      But ive always been curious how people get depression? what triggers it? how do you get worse? how does it manage to affect your life so badly?
      I've seen stories of people who claim they have depression but party like its no tomorrow, and seem to use it as a crutch when they are trying to get out of doing something, and then i know people who are very down all the time but swear they dont have any issues.

      Im not trivializing your condition at all, im just very curious as to how someone like me ended up fine but some people who seem to have had much better family/personal environments than me end up so bad... (not that i know what your life was like, just a sweeping statement based on what ive read online about the subject)

      Feel free to ignore me/downvote/vent, i'm just very curious and if you feel you can shed some light to help me grasp even a little of a better understanding i'd appreciate it.

      Thanks in advance

      Last edited 19/08/14 3:34 pm

        It varies person to person. It's not like if you have a bad event that scores a 6/10 or higher you get depressed and anything lower is fine. Some people can walk off being abandoned in a dumpster as a baby and then absolutely shatter because they lost a few friendly football matches.
        Personally it wasn't so much a low as a lack of highs. It sounds a bit dumb but it feeds into itself. You have a crappy week or month, then you don't have something to bring you back up, and suddenly things start to feel pointless, which then feeds back into your insecurities which makes things getting better seem impossible. It just keeps going and going and if there's nothing to break it you can find yourself stuck for years.
        Loneliness is a big factor for a lot of people. Not just being alone but feeling alone. It sounds cliche but feeling alone when your surrounded by people can feel even worse than actually being alone. Having a ton of people around but not really making a connection, romantic or otherwise, with anybody can really make you feel broken at your core.

        Depression is a hard thing to understand, and like @DogMan says, it varies from person to person. For me, it started when I reached high school and went through puberty. I was always a very sensitive person and felt things more then most people my age so having a massive change from primary school to high school was massive to me, even though it's fine for most people. From then on. I was also overweight which led to bullying and all my friends from primary school left to go to another high school so I was left alone.
        What this meant to me was that I withdrew from people and wanted to be left alone, and I hated myself for being me. I never sought help as I kept blaming myself for who I was and didn't know about depression and how to help myself at that stage.
        From there I went on anti-depressants and sought counseling after I left high-school and then throughout my 20's I had various things happen that caused me to go backwards again but there was a 4 year gap there, where at the worst time, I got married, built a house and moved in where the depression got so bad that I didn't feel one emotion. Nothing. I also can't remember the majority of those 4 years and my wife went through a eating disorder because she wanted my attention and I didn't even recognize she was going through that.

        I finally got the help I needed last year and am now on the right track in my life but it came at a massive cost. I have hardly any friends because of what I've gone through and I've lost my wife, my house and no longer am able to see my little boy of 20 months every day.

        Depression is no joke and it can destroy lives. Unfortunately, it ruined my marriage and relationship of 13 years but I have a little boy out of it who I will always adore. There is nothing that will stop me now from moving on from that depressive part of my life and affect my relationship with my little boy. Nothing.

        I hope this helps :)

          Thanks, it does give me an insight which is something, i spose unless its something you go through yourself its hard to grasp, good to hear your back on the right track though.
          Good luck mate

    Man, this has been really interesting to read. Thanks everyone for being so open.

    The best will always be yet to come... until it doesn't. I'll remain optimistic in the interim :-)

    Maybe early/mid 20s, after graduating from uni, the first few years of working fulltime. Lots of fun Friday nights out going to clubs and drinking. I do that once every blue moon nowadays (I'm almost 30 now).

    6-8 were a blast too, not a care in the world.

    Probably 6-23 (ie. School/Uni) were the better years of my life as it was the training montage for the rest of my life. Everything after that (30-something here) has more or less been trying to keep myself amused for the rest of my days. That's not to say there haven't been some interesting periods, it's just that the dust from the chaos of your educational years starts to settle as you get older.

    Last edited 19/08/14 12:05 pm

    Agree with early 30s being great. Combination of youth and experience, with perspective to appreciate it.
    Mid to late 30s ain't feeling so great so far.

    20's weren't too bad, and the 30's have been kind thus far. It's hard to pin a definitive period as "the best" though. There are a lot of good and bad times spread out through my whole life span.

    23 - 26
    That period of time contained good pay for a stress free job, plenty of exercise, plenty of late nights going out or hanging out with mates and not feeling tired all the time .. unlike now (35 yr old with a young child) . I had actual time to dedicate to everything - video games, social life, family time, saving good money and going on overseas trips or buying stuff I wanted, not necessarily needed.
    Was a period of time with no real responsibility, but the days felt long ... now time flies and I hardly have time for anything

    I remember when you were young and things were different. I remember playing basketball and scoring a shot on the buzzer to win the game, I remember saving up and buying a Nintendo 64 with Ocarina of Time (first one I bought by myself) and playing it to death. I feel as I get older I have fewer of those truly joyful moments. Since being married I would still have to say that I am overall happiest now but you remember these events, possibly with rose coloured glasses.

    I have had ups and downs but i feel like each and every year i live is better than the last, doors keep opening that i never thought would and i genuinely enjoying life even if its a bit challenging some times.

    26, myself, and I still think my best years were during my uni days - 18-23. Always learning new things, always had a bunch of free time to explore my hobbies, no real commitments... I was pretty much broke, lived in a small room in a shared house, and ate almost nothing but takeaway, but it was awesome. Also, lots of subjects that had group projects, which kinda forced me to socialise a bit, which was great. The last year or so was a bit of a headache, as I had to juggle my final year project with full-time work, but both were interesting. Ever since I finished uni, it's pretty much been work, sleep, and hobbies, tho.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now