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Oh, to be 33.

A new (and highly unscientific) survey suggests 33 is the best year of our lives.

So 34-year-olds, you can give up now.

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Seven out of 10 people weren't "truly happy" until they'd blown out their 33 candles, according to a survey of 2,000 people in Britain. Among the respondents, it was folks over 40 who fingered 33 as the year of bliss.

The survey, conducted by British social media network Friends Reunited, found that just 6 per cent were happiest through the bleary-eyed years of college. More baffling: Only 16 per cent said they were sunniest in childhood.

Asked why 33 was the magic number, 53 per cent of respondents said life was simply more fun, with half also reporting they had the money to enjoy themselves. About 42 per cent said they felt more optimistic about the future.

"The age of 33 is enough time to have shaken off childhood naiveté and the wild scheming of teenaged years without losing the energy and enthusiasm of youth," psychologist Donna Dawson said in the company's release.

"By this age innocence has been lost, but our sense of reality is mixed with a strong sense of hope, a 'can do' spirit, and a healthy belief in our own talents and abilities."

The survey points to a creeping perpetual adolescence: How many Victorians could say they possessed the "enthusiasm of youth" at 33? It also suggests the over-40 set may be discounting the old Sinatra refrain/retirement planners' jingle, The Best is Yet to Come.

Nonetheless, this is a breakdown of the over-40 set's happiest memories, according to the survey:

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• When I had children – 36 per cent

• When I had a certain level of success at work – 21 per cent

• My childhood – 16 per cent

• My teenage years – 16 per cent

• When I became a grandparent – 14 per cent

• When I was first in full-time work – 13 per cent

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The New York Daily News tallied 33-year-old celebrities: think sad-faced Katie Holmes, vajazzler Jennifer Love Hewitt and Adam Levine, the warbling frontman of Maroon 5. They seem happy, right?

What was your best year?

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Zosia More

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