The Ledek family including Peter, Kristy, Taite 12, Hayden, 8, and Zali, 4, from Parkwood enjoy Main Beach. Picture: Adam Head
The Ledek family including Peter, Kristy, Taite 12, Hayden, 8, and Zali, 4, from Parkwood enjoy Main Beach. Picture: Adam Head

Proof positive we’re the lucky country

FOR years, laid-back Aussies have been telling each other: "She'll be right, mate".

And it turns out the optimistically relaxed attitude to life is usually justified.

New research reveals that almost half of Australians think their life has turned out better than they expected. And another third say it has panned out pretty much as they anticipated.

"It's very encouraging news that 44 per cent - two in five people - feel their lives are significantly or somewhat better than expected," said Ashley Fell from social research group McCrindle, which conducted the survey of 1011 people nationwide.

"It was the largest group of respondents - twice the 22 per cent who feel things have worked out worse than they thought.

"Australians are living in the Lucky Country when it comes to health, education, economic opportunities and even political participation.

"While we all endure hardships during our lives, we have confidence that we can rely on others and help each other out."

Ms Fell said the concept of mateship was an important part of Australians' sense of wellbeing. "Despite our differences we know that when adversity strikes, whether in the form of personal tragedy, natural disasters or international conflict, there will usually be a fellow Aussie there to help out."

The research also explored people's regrets in life and revealed that family and relationships issues dominate.

"We wanted to get to the core of where people's hearts are so we asked the open question: If you were to die tonight, what would be your biggest regret?" Ms Fell said.

"Then we categorised their responses. Those relating to family and relationships were overwhelming - a third of all responses. It shows where people's priorities lie."

The answers related to thing like not getting married or having children.

Family breakups figured large too, with not seeing children or grandchildren grow up among frequent responses.

The second biggest category of regret is not pursuing dreams or living life to the full.

"It was that 'what if?' element" Ms Fell said. "People feeling they hadn't stepped out or taken a chance - perhaps feeling constrained by a sense of responsibility or the need to provide for loved ones.

"It was fascinating to see people reflecting on wishing they had had the courage to take a risk or seize an opportunity."

Surprisingly, travel ranks third on the list of regrets.

"There is a really high level of people who wish they had seen more of the world," Ms Fell said.

Ms Fell said that feeling might be fuelled by changes which has made travel more accessible and affordable over the years - and by the internet and social media.

"Other people sharing their experiences on Instagram and so on, creating FOMO (fear of missing out). And the internet allows us to research places more and get a sense of places we would want to visit."

Money regrets are number four on the list. "Some people were blunt and simply said they wished they had made more money. But for others, it was about not owning a home for their family's security or leaving enough money for their kids."

Unfulfilled career goals was followed by not completing or extending study.

Regrets over leading an unhealthy lifestyle featured, along with not following religion or a spiritual path.

The top 10 was rounded out with concerns over not standing up for their political principles and not reconciling with friends after a falling out.

"The positive side is that reflecting on what regrets we have means there may still be the opportunity to change some things," Ms Fell said.