If you believe everyone who tells you life doesn't start until your 30s, 40s, or even 50s, we have some bad news for you. According to new research, the best memories of our lives are actually made long before we hit these decades.
In fact, by the tender age of 25 the most important of our memories have already been imprinted in our brains. And the 'chapter' of your life that lasts between 17 and 24 is the most active for happy reminiscence.
The study asked retirees to tell their life story in 30 minutes. Researchers collected these 'free flowing' stories and later divided them into life chapters - these usually involved transitions such as getting married and having children.
Psychologist Kristina Steiner, of the University of New Hampshire, said: "When people look back over their lives and recount their most important memories, most divide their life stories into chapters defined by important moments that are universal for many: a physical move, attending college, a first job, marriage, military experience, and having children."
Steiner explained that she's interested in why people report more memories from early adulthood than from the age of 30 onwards, and she's still investigating.
But there may be a catch to this research to make us feel a bit better - the study involved speaking to retirees up to the age of 92 about their lives and listening to their narratives. And it's been proven that earlier memories tend to stick better as we get old and memory starts failing. So it could be the recall system that stops at 25, rather than that we just didn't make many new memories after the grand old age of 25.
That's what we're going to believe anyway.