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Live Life to the Full

If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

With age comes the wisdom of experience and we discover that there is a lot to be learnt from those who have lived and loved longer than us. Sharing and learning life experience can help us live happier lives at any age. According to our research, always being true to yourself, enjoying life, and taking care of yourself are the three leading pieces of advice that UK retirees would share with younger generations.

To inspire the nation to live life to the full, we have captured the lives and learnings of the over 60s as they reveal their most memorable life moments, and share the crucial advice they would give to their younger selves.

More than 1,000 UK retirees* were questioned by HSL, to determine which goals and challenges to prioritise as we journey through life; where better to learn than by those who have already spent 60 or more years mastering it.

Life under 30 is often considered ‘prime time’ to explore, grow and experience as much as possible; taking advantage of not being tied down. Those polled advised that, in their experience, the top five things that people in their twenties should focus on are:

  1. Making a promising start to a career (46%)
  2. Travelling (36%)
  3. Remaining in education and getting a good qualification (33%)
  4. Having fun (30%)
  5. Living a healthy lifestyle (30%)

Martin, 83, commented: “Do all you want to before you are 30, then settle down” whilst Gerald, 78, added: “Make sure you have a real passion for the job you take up.”

A thirtieth birthday is typically considered a milestone, and for many at this point there is an expectation to become financially stable and start a family. This was reflected in advice from those polled, who suggested that between the ages of 30 and 40, it is important to try to:

  1. Buy a house (37%)
  2. Be careful with money (32%)
  3. Get married, or settled into a long-term relationship (31%)
  4. Live a healthy lifestyle (28%)
  5. Have children (20%)

Hamish, 68, said: “Don’t squander your money and get into debt. Try to live within your means”, whilst Paulie, 81, added: “Plan ahead, as the future will always arrive quicker than you expect!”

As forty years roll by, and middle-age approaches, attention turns back to living life to the full, whilst remaining fit and healthy. Guidance shared for those aged 40-50 was:

  1. Live a healthy lifestyle (55%)
  2. Keep in touch with friends (41%)
  3. Be careful with money (40%)
  4. Travel (33%)
  5. Have fun! (22%)

Gerald, 78, commented: “There is more to life than money!”

Regardless of age, the leading advice offered to help ensure life is lived to the full was:

  1. Always be true to yourself (81%)
  2. Be happy, and enjoy life (80%)
  3. Be healthy, and take care of yourself (76%)
  4. Get a good education and work hard (74%)
  5. Save your money (71%)

Harvey, 81, mused that: “Life is an adventure with ups and downs. Always stay optimistic, work hard, and you will have enough money to enjoy it”, whilst Laurence, 66, commented: “You only get one life, so make the most of it.”

Reminiscing on their lives so far, 54% of the 1,005 retirees polled said they had no regrets.

Just under a fifth (18%) said their biggest regret was not buying a house earlier, whilst 15% wished they had travelled more, and nearly a quarter (21%) wished they had taken more risks in life.

Ralph, 84, said: “It’s human nature to regret, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up about things that can’t be changed or re-done”. Celia, 91, joked: “Now that I am wise and old, I would have liked to be wise and young.”

Commenting on the topic, ‘mind’ expert, public speaker and ground breaking life coach, Jacqueline Hurst, offered her top tips for how to live life to the full – whatever your age:

  1. Be positive.  

Learn how to think correctly and remember that your thoughts impact how you feel. Being clear about what you are thinking helps you to feel better. If you think negative thoughts you will feel negative. If you think positive thoughts you feel positive. Ultimately the power is in your hands!

  1. Throw away your manual.

We all have a manual of how we ‘do’ life and we always think our way is the right way.  If people don’t do things our way we see this as ‘wrong’. However, just because people do things differently from us, doesn’t actually mean they are ‘wrong’. Letting go of your manual of how YOU think the world should run, makes life a lot easier and less stressful!

  1. Take your fun more seriously.  

We all have bills, jobs, responsibilities, but not many of us take our fun seriously. Have you ever noticed how children have fun just for the sake of having fun? It’s well worth trying to take your fun more seriously. Schedule in some time to simply go and have fun whether it’s something simple like a night out with friends or enjoying a hobby. Life doesn’t have to be so serious all the time.       

  1. Be grateful. 

So often we can be complacent about the little things. We can use our legs to walk, our eyes to see and our ears to hear. Those things might be small but actually when you really stop to think, they are things to be grateful for.  Being grateful is important to living your best life. It’s hard to be miserable and grateful at the same time. Focus on looking at what you have got, not at what you haven’t.

  1. The right people matter. 

So often we don’t tell the truth for fear of what others might think about us. Becoming authentic means we learn to live and speak our truth. It’s a brilliant way of filtering out the wrong people. Time is precious and not to be wasted, and the more authentic you become the more authentic the people around you will be. Like attracts like. So if there are people in your life draining you, or zapping your energy it’s time to re-focus and change this for the better.

Take a look at HSL’s ‘life lesson’ video interviews with UK retirees:

*Study of 1,005 over 60s (retired), undertaken in June 2017

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