Can teens benefit from any wisdom gained by older people?

Since 2012, 65-84-year-olds have consistently been revealed as the ‘happiest’ generation when surveyed. But what can this be attributed to?


A Loving Tribute recently surveyed over 500 UK-based over 65s to discover the secrets to the happiest generation and what advice they would give to their teen self.

Upon reflection of their past, only 16.2 per cent had a negative view of their earlier years. Over 35 per cent simply wished for their teen self to look after their own mental health and adopt a more positive mental attitude. Common phrases used in these responses were ‘be true to yourself’, ‘believe in yourself’ and ‘enjoy life’.

Although these can be seen as the norm for ourselves today and, although it may be hard to follow on occasion, we are all aware of the importance of following this encouragement. This could be attributed to the lack of mental health awareness and support in the past and the taboos of struggling mental health. Teens and younger people today benefit from greater assistance within these areas, but would this be a continuing theme when today’s teens reach retirement?

Over 10 per cent showed their biggest regret as not focussing on their education. Nowadays, university and apprenticeships are widely open to students of all backgrounds. Previously, university was open to the elite and therefore a large proportion were unable to attend. On the flip-side, university fees were far cheaper than the £9000 a year students face today. The trend of regretting lack of eduction may continue for generations.

Worryingly, 2.8 per cent stated political advice as their answer. Although the figure may seem small, this shows over 3 per cent of over 65s saw their biggest life regret as their previously political believes.

Some responses were generic to the voting system, such as a simply stating they wished their teen-self had voted in a certain election. Others were more specific, such as ‘Vote Labour’ and ‘Don’t believe a Tory MP’.

This number is not too dissimilar to the gap between the Leave and Remain voters in the 2016 referendum. With this number of voters having changed their beliefs so drastically throughout their lifetime, it begs the questions; should older people be allowed the vote when it impacts younger generations more? Should teens be trusted with the vote? Labour’s manifesto contains lowering the voting age to 16 but could this have consequences with so many regretting their younger decisions?

Polls have shown 47 per cent of 16-34-year-olds believe pensioners shouldn’t have a say on issues such as Brexit and Scottish independence as they are not the ones who will be living with the consequences.

Subsequently, arguments for not allowing 16-17-year-olds to vote come down to ‘immaturity’ and assuming teens lack knowledge to make the ‘correct’ choice. However, teenagers nowadays appear to be more informed than ever. With interest access and social media, those wishing to vote are more enlightened than ever and certainly have more information at their disposal than retirees possessed in their youth.

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