These Are Not The Best Years of Your Life

People say high school is the best years of your life but that's not true

When I was in high school it felt like everyone was always telling me to enjoy it now because “these are the best years of your life!” I always hated hearing that. It made me angry and left me feeling frustrated. They were miserable and I couldn’t wait for the day we finally graduated and I didn’t have to deal with high school angst again. A lot of years have passed since then and I still don’t miss it. I moved away, didn’t attend my reunion and don’t keep in touch with most of the people that went to high school with me. I understand that the intention behind those words is to remind high school kids to “Carpe Diem” (seize the day) and to enjoy the moments without bills and responsibilities. I get it, but high school days didn’t even come a little bit close to being the best days. 

In fact, they were quite miserable.

Even now I don’t like hearing people tell high school kids that those days are the best days of their lives because for a lot of kids they aren’t. If I had believed it then and really thought that I didn’t have anything to look forward to post-high school I could have seen myself becoming a statistic of yet another live cut too short. It’s sad, but true.

It’s important that we teach children, high-schoolers, 20-somethings, that these years may not be the best years of their lives, that our years are full of what we make them, and that ever year has the potential to become better than the year before it.

I did wonder if maybe I was alone in my thinking.

I thought, “Maybe I am the only one who hated high school. Maybe for everyone else those really were the best years of their lives.” I didn’t think that was the case but there was part of me that did say, “Maybe.”

I put the question out to my community on Facebook. I asked them, “Are these the best years of your life? What years would you say were/are the best years of your life?” I appreciated their insight and almost everyone that responded said their 20’s or 30’s although there were a few that said 40’s and a few that said 50’s. There were even a few people who responded with “right now!” as they embraced their current season of life.

There was not a single person that said high school

When I asked why they responded the way they did I was given the following responses:

  • The best years of my life were when I finally got the autonomy to live my life the way I wanted to live it.
  • When I discovered who I really was and stopped trying to conform.
  • When I stopped caring about being popular and started caring about being me.
  • Once I built my own family.
  • My best years are the years since I’ve become a parent.

The best years of my life have been these years, my late 20’s and my early 30’s. I’ve really discovered who I am as a person, as a friend and as a wife. I’ve accepted my passions and my talents. I’ve found confidence in my skills and my appearance. I feel self-assured for the first time in my life. I’m not living up to crazy standards and I’m not comparing myself to others.

I’ve accepted myself for myself and that’s a beautiful way to live.

High school wasn’t great. My early 20’s weren’t great either. My late 20’s and early 30’s have been incredible. Can I say that these are the best years of my life? I don’t know. I haven’t lived my other years yet but I know they are the best years so far and that’s important to both realize and to accept.

A few of my favorite quotes about age?

  • There is always some specific moment when we realize our youth is gone; but years after, we know it was much later. ~Mignon McLaughlin
  • My wrinkles are a playground of happy memories. ~Terri Guillemets
  • Sometimes it takes years to really grasp what has happened to your life. ~Wilma Rudolph

My point is – don’t stress if these aren’t the best years of your life and don’t worry if you haven’t had your best years yet.

Your best years might be in the years to come.


Ashley LaMar
Ashley bounces between Atlanta, GA + Charleston, WV with her husband and two small dogs for life and work. If she’s not writing or blogging, she can usually be found cooking, reading, or watching baseball. Follow her on Twitter @ashleyfromfbl

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  1. Great post and I couldn’t agree more!! I don’t think High School is the best years! I was miserable in high school. Girls were so mean and I spent a lot of my time in tears! I would honestly say after 25 have been the best years so far because I am comfortable and confident with who I am!! 😉

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    • People are cruel in high school! No one knows who they are and everyone is trying to discover their personality and their identity. It’s a hard time and definitely not what I would call the “best years” of my life. Sure I might have had fewer demands on me and less responsibility but that doesn’t necessarily mean those years were the best. Having the autonomy to live according to our own desires is definitely what creates the best years for me and, it sounds like, for you. I’m so glad you’re having great years now.

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  2. Love this and SO true! High school isn’t even on the radar for the ‘best years’. Like you, my 20s were fine, but my 30s were WAY better! I’m about to be 40 and I loved my 30s. If you are enjoying your late 20s/early 30s now, trust me…it only gets better :). I’ve heard the 40s are another awesome decade for women, so I’m not actually upset about the looming big birthday…I’m ready to embrace it and make my 40s my best decade!! I think getting to the point where I know myself, what I like/don’t like, expanding on my confidence, and finally getting to the point where I don’t beat myself up because I genuinely like myself is why my 30s have rocked! 🙂

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    • Quite a few people said that their 40’s were the best and I can totally see that. I don’t dread growing older at all; in fact, I embrace it. It seems like every year gets better and better. I’m happy that high school is behind me and honestly if I had to rank all of my decades right now I’d put 30’s at the top (even though I’m only 2 years in to them), then 20’s then 0-10 and then high school. High school is definitely last.

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  3. This post really resonated with me! I also hated high school, and I’m so glad that I am having some pretty amazing years now, in my late 20s and early 30s, and I feel like my best years are yet to come!

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    • Exactly! There seems to be something really special about late 20’s and early 30’s. It has to be because that’s when we really come in to our greatest independence and begin to build our own families. 30 – 32 have been the best 3 years of my life and I’m certain I have a ton to look forward to (as I’m sure you do too).

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  4. High school is pure hell for so many people. i think my best years are still to come. I’m finding more out about myself and really trying to live my life for me. It’s taken me 34 years to realize that!

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    • High school was pretty close to pure hell! I mean, I hated those years. Talk about miserable. Ugh! I’m glad you’re at a point where you’re living for you and enjoying yourself. That’s exactly where and how you should be.

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  5. I could NOT agree with you more! I have never felt like high school was the best time of my life. I’m 32, and I’d say since I turned 25 has been the best, and every year just gets better. Mainly because since around then, I have supported myself financially, got married, had a child, have a great job, bought an apartment…and just having the ability to do all of these things for myself is pretty awesome.

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    • That’s exactly how I feel. I’m 32 and from 28 to 32 have been the BEST! I have my husband, my dogs, my apartment, my career. I moved from a small town to Atlanta and I love my life. These are definitely the best years so far. I’m glad you’re loving your here & now too.

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  6. I love this post and couldn’t agree more. The obsession with HS and making it so important to kids is really silly to me. I also hated HS and couldn’t wait to leave! Ha! I’m in my mid/early 20’s, and would say that my years in college were not necessarily the BEST years of my life, but they were definitely some of my happiest! Currently, being a young, married couple is probably the best though… but man! Everyone is saying their late 20’s and early 30’s, so I’m definitely looking forward to that!

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    • I would absolutely say that late 20’s – early 30’s has been the best! Absolutely. My career was becoming more established, finances were better, my marriage was stronger, my identity was more clear. I had identified my passions and learned how to really pursue them. All of the discovery is behind you and you just really blossom into THIS is what life is supposed to be. Definitely my best years.

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