The Key to a Good Life — Different Approaches from Different Generations

features_key_to_good_life_maddi_borison2by Madison Borison

Most people are always looking for the next quick diet pill, the next quick happiness tool, and the next quick mistake eraser. All some people need is a quick quote to keep their belief in a good life.

I’m one of those people and I wanted to rack people’s brains of what they believe the key to a good life is.

I started by asking some elementary/middle school aged kids what they thought the key to a good life was. Some of the responses were intriguing:

  • “To love people, and also to care about people that are in heaven,” –Tyler Cincotta, age 5
  •  “To have friends and family to be thankful for,” –Keaton Bradford, age 6
  •  “Breathing, having a home, my windows, and my friends and family, and food,” –Ian Pezenosky, age 7
  • “Listening and learning,” –Patrick Costello, age 7
  • “A good job,” –Aidan O’Neill, age 8
  • “To be able to play,” –Parker Bradford, age 8
  • “Sleeping in footie pajamas every night,” –Tori Fuemmeler, age 9
  • “Family. Education because without education, you won’t get a job and you won’t have a good life. Shelter, food, friends, and Mr. Zentz [her teacher],” –Megan Pezenosky, age 10
  •  “Good people around you that will help you,” –Adam Borison, age 12
  • “Happiness,” –Cole Fuemmeler, age 12
  •  “Have a lot of friends and people who make you really happy and be happy all the time,” –Makayla Fuemmeler, age 13

It’s captivating to see what children appreciate in life.

I continued by asking 26 teenagers (ages 14-18) for what their key to a good life is:

  • “Enjoying more things,” –Jack Chavez, age 14
  • “Don’t sweat the small stuff,”-CJ Barndollar, age 14
  • “Go the extra mile for others,” –Roman Castro, age 15
  • “Having a family,” –Jacob Russell, age 15
  • “Love,” –Pat Sichette, age 15
  • “Success in anything you value,” –Connor Chavez, age 16
  • “Friendship,” –Jack Grant, age 16
  • “Have fun,” –Mark Ray, age 16
  • “A woman who cooks for you,” –Keanu Rosa, age 16
  • “Smile, even if you’re having a bad day,” –Keely Parrish, age 17
  • “Always remember, time enjoyed isn’t time wasted,”-Christine Pfeifer, age 17
  •  “Be successful in school and get a good job,” –Jayc Benjamin, age 17
  •  “Surround yourself with happy people,” –Tess Laffer, age 17
  • “Enjoy the little things,” –Naomi Friend, age 17
  • “Finish what you start,” –Taylee Gray, age 17
  •  “Key to a good life is love,” –Rachel Medovich, age 17
  •  “Appreciating every relationship and moment, especially the happiness since you never know when it will be all stripped away from you,” –Abbey Burnett, age 17
  • “Always look at the bright side of every situation,” –Maria McAllister, age 17
  •  “Never give up on your goals and be who you are not what others want you to be,” –Cody Long, age 17
  •  “Humility,” –Mary Ellen Hauver, age 17
  • “Have one best friend you can turn to in times of happiness, sorry, or any other need. If you have that one person you are rich beyond measure,” –Eli Asbury, age 18
  • “Do what you love with who you love, and take some responsibility,” –Brad Strampfer, age 18
  • “Cutting all the negativity out of your life,” Jenna Haines, age 18
  • “God,” –Anthony Lightner, age 18
  • “Happiness and good friendships,” –Dahlia Kronfli, age 18
  • “Making other people happy, makes you happy,” –Emily Waddington, age 18

Teenagers have such different views of things. The difference between the ages of 14 to 18 and those in between are fascinating. I found that the older the teenager is, the more in depth their quote was. Although, there were a few younger quotes that surprised me.

Then, I asked 27 adults (over age 18) for what their key to a good life is:

  •  “Follow your dreams and passions, and never let yourself believe they are out of reach,” –Sam Wainess, age 19
  • “Feeling comfortable in your own skin and making the most out of life,” –Taylor Williams, age 19
  • “Look at the positive side of every aspect of life, and never let anything bring you down,” –Dylan Harshman, age 19
  • “Prioritize your happiness as much as you can,” –Scott Poole, age 19
  • “Never keeping people around who cause negativity and stress. If they cause more bad things than good, you don’t need them and should get them out of your life. That only brings you down and pulls you in the opposite direction that you want to go,” –Taylor Spicer, age 19. “It’s hard, but after you get through it, it’s for the best. Positive people can only help you.”
  • “Self-confidence,” –Brett Zimmerman, age 21
  • “Dress nice. Smell nice. Be nice,” –Allen Etzler, age 22
  • “Being a good person and feeling good,” –Dion Underwood, age 22
  • “Make time for those you love as well as yourself. Say yes to trying new things and always keep an open mind,” –Nora Mowrey, 23
  • “If you are always genuine with people, people will not only respect you more, but they will truly value their relationship with you and your opinions,” –Alyssa Blackwell, age 24
  • “Key to a good life is to always be honest with yourself and others,” –Ashley Tyeryar, age 26
  • “Listen to the older people in your life. They really do give the best advice and try to keep you on the right track. No matter how much you think you’re right or way is the best they are trying to school you…so essentially don’t make the same mistakes as others,” –Christopher Popp, age 26
  • “Contentment,” –Math teacher Mark Widmeyer
  • “Living content and happy. Money is not important, but being stable is,” –Ryan Harrell, age 31. “Putting God first is the most important key.”
  •  “Sense of humor, you have to be able to laugh at yourself,” –Shannon Marble, age 35
  • “Good friends and family,” –Will Scheetz, age 35
  • “Do something that makes you happy,” –English teacher Tom Kollai, age 36.  “Also, listen to your wife.”
  • “Surround yourself with people who love you no matter what… Remember to love them back,” –Principal Tracey Franklin, age 38. “Have enough shoes and clothes to not wear the same outfit twice in a calendar year.”
  • “Love with your whole heart, practice forgiveness, and be thankful for blessings that come your way,” –Kristie Fisher, age 38
  • “Taking the time to stop and notice the beauty of the little everyday moments in life. That is where you will find many of the blessings,” –Monica Bradford, age 38
  • “Be happy with what you do,” –Assistant Principal Jason Lininger, age 39
  • “Having good friends. Being yourself is the most important thing. Also, grudges do you no good,” –Math teacher Chris Boothe, age 42
  • “The key to a good life is happiness… being happy with yourself and in the choices you make… being with your friends and with your family… with that is to always smile, and always laugh, no matter what,” –Amy Pezenosky, age 42
  • “Find happiness,” –Science teacher Susan Faibisch
  • “Cherish friendships and family and always to remember that laughter is the key to happiness in these relationships,” –Jacki Givens, age 47
  • “Good attitude,” –Lead Custodian Mike Gibbons, age 48
  • “Life is short, enjoy each day to its’ fullest,” –Barry Burch, age 51
  • “Honesty and truth is all you need,” –Debbie Santelli, age 59
  • “Having someone to share it with, share hopes and dreams. Spend time with friends and family and having good health,” –Candy Manges, age 64
  • “Always have faith and I think everything else work out, even the bad, bad things; if you have faith, it will be okay,” –Pauline Monnig, age 69

To sum up these quotes, love your friends and family to no end, have faith, and always do what makes you happy with a good attitude. Some of these quotes can really provoke more thought and can be interpreted in different ways.

That’s what it is great about people; everyone has a different story, different values, and different expectations for life.

For me, the key to a good life is to appreciate and be grateful for all you have.