Does life get worse?

I remember being in my Junior year of high school, loving every minute of it, thinking to myself “This is the best time of my life. It’s all downhill from here.” 

Then I went to college in San Diego and watched the sunset over the ocean every night for four years and thought to myself “Wow, this is the best season of life ever. I never want to graduate.”

Then I graduated, got a sweet job, and got to prove to myself I could make it as a productive member of society. I was having just as much fun as I did in college, but wasn’t quite as broke and no longer had homework. WIN!

And now, here I am, six years out of college, married, a new homeowner, about to become a puppy parent, loving every minute, wondering does it get even better?

 

I have loved just about every phase of life, except middle school – honestly what person enjoyed middle school?

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Contrary to my feelings about the future, life has always seemed to get progressively better. I’m shocked I love being 28 more than I loved being 18!

 

Our financial situation has followed suit. Six years ago I was a fresh-out-of-college graduate making $13/hour with a staggering $28,000 debt load. Every year since then has been better than the last, resulting in a quarter-million dollar gain. That’s insane to me.

I hope this doesn’t come across as bragging. That is not at all my intention. Thankfulness and awe are probably better indications of how I feel. I don’t expect things to get better, but somehow they always have.

 

It’s mind-boggling really.

 

Parenting is likely the next phase of life I’ll find myself in. I’m skeptical that it will be better than this current season, but hey, when I was graduating college I remember almost crying at the thought of having to work for the next 40 years. But here I am today, so thankful I don’t have to sit through another History 101 lecture, cram on a Sunday night, or touch a Scantron ever again.

Is this normal?

What would you say your favorite season of life was? Are you like me and each phase only gets better? Or is there a phase that finally makes you long for how it used to be?

28 thoughts on “Does life get worse?

  1. I’m 37 now, and it does keep getting better! I can remember being 25, and thinking how great life was. Now that I’m a parent, things are even better. Nothing quite like having children to change your life forever – and for the better (even if it does come with a few sleepless nights).

  2. Life just keeps getting better! I didn’t really like elementary or high school (no middle school where I grew up), but I loved college! And post-college has been even better. Now at 25, I think that life will only get better from here. I’m pretty convinced that 25-30 will be my favourite five year span of my life thus far by 30!

  3. There have certainly been rough patches. Every stage has had different its good parts, although my first few adventures (careers?) right outside of college set a VERY high bar.

    No regrets ever. And yes, I am definitely excited about the life I live now and am looking forward to the next steps.

  4. Most people have something called PROBLEMS in their lives. Since you wouldn’t know much about that, I guess your logic stands to reason.

  5. I’m with you Ninja – I remember dancing at my prom and getting all weepy thinking “this is the best time of my life – I have great friends that I see every day, and now it’s ending and it won’t be the same once we all split up and go off to college” – and college was different, but it was awesome, and when I graduated, I thought that the next phase of my life, working, could never be as great. And things have just gotten better!
    I don’t know what the next phase of my life will be, but if past history is any predictor of the future, I’m thinking it might be pretty good!

  6. It gets better! I’m 46, married 11 years to a wonderful guy, home-owners, DINKS, and so very greatful for the cards we’ve been dealt. It hasn’t always been rosy; we’ve both had our share of health concerns, but for the most part, we’re pretty lucky 🙂

  7. I’ve also been thinking recently that this is the best time of my life so far. I LOVE being married and having so much time with my husband and I love that my job (grad school) is flexible and low-responsibility. I do expect becoming a parent to make my life ‘worse’ – I know that statistically marital satisfaction drops like a rock after a child arrives and only starts to improve again when the child leaves home. But I also think that there is no way I’ll look back at the end of life and think that my PhD was the best time in my life (that sounds crazy), so there will be better times in the future – just not necessarily the next stage.

  8. Life does get better if you have the right attitude. There are road blocks, bad decisions and regrets but, life is so worth living. Every day is a gift and once it is gone, it is gone so, making the best of it makes life interesting and fun.

  9. If that’s a picture of you with the satin jacket and the skates, no wonder you didn’t enjoy middle school.

    I have just turned 65. I’m still working, but within a year or two I’ll be retired. Hard to say what that will bring, but every phase of my life has had its ups and downs. I’m sure that to those who judge others by “how much you make,” my life may not appear to have been a stunning success; but fortunately I’ve survived this long without any serious financial, medical, professional, or legal problems. And as one gets older, I think one learns to accept one’s life more realistically, and to know what one can accomplish as well as what one cannot.

    • Thank you Larry for commenting on the picture! I could not believe nobody had jumped on that yet!! Ninja, please please please say it is so. Is that you?!?
      As for lifetime bliss, yes I have been fortunate enough to say that things keep getting better. As a mother of 4 little ones now I just turned 34 last week and my mother in law asked me “if I was ok with my birthday”. Um, yes, getting older is fantastic! What is the other option, death?
      Emily, your statistical evidence makes me sad. Sure 4 babies at home makes things crazy but I would not say my marital satisfaction has dropped at all. What has dropped (and many days disappeared) is my ability to be selfish with my time. The days of sleeping in, cleaning a house and having it stay that way for more than 60 seconds, and eating a meal where no one says “It’s stinky” and most of it ends up on the floor are a distant memory now…but I wouldn’t have it any other way <3
      I agree with Larry in that all stages have their ups and downs…but with what I know of your perspective Ninja, things will continue to simutaneously stay awesome and keep getting better 😉

  10. I think I can speak for most people in that life immediately after college is pretty tough. Post college depression is a real thing if you don’t have a significant other, moved away for college, have debt, etc. The adjustment period and the realization that “Oh man, I wasn’t as independent as I thought” can be overwhelming and create problems. We all go through tough times, but overall I think everyone can say they’ve been blessed in some form or fashion. What is a problem for me may not be a problem for others, and vice versa.

    Congrats on all your success Ninja, and your words are encouraging to read.

    • Yeah post college for about 2 years was very difficult. Loosing the closeness of all your college friends with people moving on to do very different things- more school, better jobs, new cities. Feeling left behind. I had to live at home with the parents and pay off 5 figures of debt (with still more to pay down). Finally got a new job 3 years out of school and moved to my college city for it. Still miss being close to my college friends, but at least the job situation is better- got a government job like Ninja.

  11. Well it has been generally ok for me. I cannot say it’s been perfect because of my job. That happiness salary of 70k, which I am far from, is so true. Unfortunately, I do feel happiness is very dependent on your finances.

  12. I guess it all depends on your status in life and if you stay content with the present. Some people choose to live in the moment and live life great, while others tend to reflect more on the past. I enjoyed highschool more than college in my situation, but now in my 30’s I am having a great time as well. As you mature things change and its up to you to make the best of what you have right now in the present.

  13. I’m very happy for you! I too am loving every minute of life and very thankful for it. Just when I think it can’t get any better, it always does!

  14. I have been dealt some very good cards in my life and I cannot put into words how thankful I am for that. I know so many people that have been dealt “(rhymes with city)” cards in life. Great article!

  15. I am 23 right now, and my life just keeps getting better and better. Just when I think I’ve reached a peak and it’s all down hill from here, life smacks me in the face and says “Here’s another one!” (awesome life card). I attribute my positive attitude and forward thinking to this amazing life.

  16. My opinion is that there are great things about every season of life if you have an optimist point of view. You may be broke in high school, but you get to play organized sports and build lasting friendships. You rack up debt in college, but you have inspiring professors nd study abroad experiences. Etc. Etc.

    I first felt regret out of college, but then I met my wife and found a fulfilling career, so I am in a similar position. The only people I know who feel that life gets worse tend to be pessimists. They dwell on and find flaws with any station in life. I have met people with life threatening illness or no who have no way of retirement who are just as happy as anyone. It just comes down to perspective.

    • This!

      No one has a life that is completely problem free, but your ability to look beyond and bounce back should increase as you become older, wiser and more aware of your own power.

      I’ve been doing some research on the neauroscience of resilience recently and it is truly all in your head. Happiness is a frame of mind after all. You can choose to be happy and soldier on, or you can choose to leave your happiness in the hands of other people and your circumstances. The latter rarely serves your own greater good.

  17. I 100% agree. Since the 7th grade my life has continued to get better and better every year, exempting Sept 2001-May 2002.

    I always thought that the idea of high school or college being “the best years of your life” was kinda dumb. Do you want your life to peak at 18 or 22? What about the remaining 40-50 years. Seems like a terrible way to live.

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