One of the saddest things I’ve seen in life is something I see all around me: people settling in their lives. People who stay in marriages where they aren’t unhappy but aren’t happy either and don’t have children to prevent them from leaving; people who settle for mediocre jobs when they could be doing what they really want to do and maybe even make more money doing it; and people who settle for boring jobs that pay a lot of money because they want to make more money, even though their family life is nonexistent and their children hardly recognize them. I don’t understand any of it. I don’t understand why anyone would spend 50 or so years of their lives doing something that they don’t want to do, or in a situation they don’t enjoy, by choice. I know that there are “ambitious” people and that there are not so ambitious people, but does it really take ambition to want to be happy? Does it really take ambition to require happiness? Does it take ambition to accept nothing less than happiness?
I say no to all three of those questions. I’ll admit that I’m nothing less than ambitious; when I was 10 my big project was to build the robot (AMEE) from the movie Red Planet. But I’m not ambitious in a job sense, I’m ambitious because I pick big projects. I don’t care what I do in life, whether I’m a CEO, a computer programmer, or a bagger at Wal-Mart as long as myself and my future family are happy. But if we’re not happy then I’ll move hell and high water to make us happy. Oscar Wilde once said, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.” I agree completely, and in fact I’ll raise him one: life is too important to waste it not to being happy.
So on this fine night, when the weather is a little warmer than it’s been, and the ground is damp with freshly fallen rain (in Montreal, at least,) I ask you: what could you do to make yourself happier? If you could change one thing in your life that would make you a happier person, what would it be? How would you change it? How about changing it tomorrow?