If you look back on your life, which moments would you count as your happiest? What would be your biggest regrets?
That’s the intriguing question online insurance company Beagle Street asked 1000 “life experts” aged 70 or older to mark the release of a new heartwarming, short four-minute film called “Happiest Moment.”
The film is produced by BAFTA-nominated Gary Tarn and features some of UK’s oldest couples – including Maurice and Helen Kaye from Bournemouth, who are 102 and 101 and have been married for 80 years.
Fascinating stuff, right? What did the older generation say and would you agree with their answers?
The Happiest Moments in Life
Other happiest moments included the day of retirement, moving into a new home, meeting the man or woman of their dreams, the first kiss with the person they love, and watching their child’s first steps and hearing their first words.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, the subsequent births of siblings rated number four on the list of happiest moments. As the oldest of four, maybe I feel just a bit smug about that.
One woman described the joy she felt seeing her wounded husband in a hospital during World War II as one of her happiest moments in one of the touching interviews that might have you dabbing your eyes.
What noticeably did not make the top ten on their list were any career-related achievements or anything to do with material gains. Obviously, job promotions and buying a fancy car were not as important as loving relationships.
We can learn from that, folks.
Regrets in Life
Interestingly, more than half the people questioned said they had absolutely no regrets in life.
The most common regret of those that had them was choosing the wrong career and not pursuing lifelong dreams.
Also in the top five were getting divorced and getting married too soon. One in ten of those with regrets wished they had worked harder in school and seven per cent regretted not traveling the world more.
The short film, Happiest Moment, includes advice from the older generation aimed at the younger ones. What wisdom from their experience in life did they want to pass on to the generation following them?
The number one piece of advice was to never take the people you love for granted.
Other top pearls of wisdom were “believe in yourself,” “nothing worth having comes easy,” and
“don’t hold grudges.”
What Can We Learn?
Since it’s scientifically proven that happier people live longer, we should take some notes.
What makes life matter when you look back?
Me – I would agree with most of their choices. The primary difference is that I would include the day I got baptized and dedicated my life to God on my list of happiest moments. After that, I would definitely include the day I met and married my husband, our first kiss, and the births of my children and grandchildren at the top of my list.
Clearly, relationships with those we love are more important than money and the key to contentment according to this study of older people in Britain who were looking back at the high points in their lives.
Matthew Gledhill, managing director of Beagle Street, put it well when he said: “The overwhelming message from those with the most life experience is that the key to happiness is to worry less and live in the moment with the people you care about most.”
Still living in the moment, one 80-year-old woman said, “I’m happier now than I’ve ever been.”
True, this study is not exactly scientific and gives us a limited snapshot of happiness, but it supports countless research that suggests family relationships and social connections overrides career or monetary success when it comes to happiness and life satisfaction.
In other words, counting your blessings instead of your material gains will definitely give more meaning to your life at the end of the day.
How about you? Do you agree with their list of life’s most fulfilling and joyful moments? I’d love to know. If you’re so inclined, tell me what you would include on your list in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Stuart Miles, kangshutters, and taoty at FreeDigitalPhotos.net