A little while ago, Mark Pilgrim itemised a list of happiness-producing goals. Maybe tongue-in-cheek to an extent.
While admirable, I found it a little extreme to be practical. And thought my own life required a few more manageable goals for a similar outcome. Now, I’m not saying I’m actively trying to achieve these, but sometime down the line…
- Stop buying unneeded things
- Stop sleeping more than 6–8 hours a night
- Stop drinking alcohol that’s not part of a diet
- Start a long-term exercise regime.
- Start actively removing things from my possession. Old clothes. Old books. Old junk.
But the one thing that would make me happy right now? Working hard on my PhD and getting the damn thing over and done with. And what am I doing right now instead?
This would be a good time to link to Doris Kearns Goodwin, who speaks enthrallingly as a story-teller on the themes of happiness and finding meaning in life:
My mind keeps wandering back to a seminar that I took when I was a graduate student at Harvard with the great psychologist Erik Erikson. He taught us that the richest and fullest lives attempt to achieve an inner balance between three realms: work, love, and play. And that to pursue one realm to the disregard of the others is to open oneself to ultimate sadness in older age; whereas to pursue all three with equal dedication is to make possible a life filled not only with achievement but with serenity.
[About 30 secs into the talk.]
I guess I’ll leave it at that.