Aside from being the title of a great movie (although, spelled “Happyness” instead), a lot of people fail epically at their own pursuit of happiness and satisfaction in life.

I mean, your life is what you make it. Granted, there are those with an unfortunate lot in life … But for the majority of us, we are mostly in control of our own lives.

Choice of life companion. People in America complain about the high divorce rate in the country. Well, allow me to enlighten you for a moment … You think it is bad here? Be grateful you do not live in Europe. Most countries in Europe have a significantly higher divorce rate than the USA does. Sweden, for example, has a steady 67% divorce rate within the first two years of marriage (that is, if they get married in the first place¹). People treat marriage like it comes with some form of “money back” guarantee.

Many get married way too early, or too quickly. Then, as things do not “work out” (read: initial attraction and sexual excitement has worn off), they decide it is time to split.

If you are not absolutely sure this is the person you should be married to for the rest of your life, do not make the commitment. Dating is the trial period. Once you are married, the trial period is over.

You might think that I hold an old-fashioned view on the subject. However, while I am all for marriage, I am not saying that divorce is always wrong. In fact, there are many many instances where a married couple could, and probably should, end their marriage with a divorce. No, what I am talking about here is treatment of marriage like a trial-and-error institution.

Do not marry until you know this person is absolutely “right” for you, and that he/she feels the same about you. Broken families is a detriment to society. The Roman Empire fell apart because their families fell apart.

“But, what if there is someone better out there for me … ?”

You know, I am sure there is someone who would be better off without you. You cannot keep going through life regretting every important decision you make. In fact, you would be better of just not making those decisions, instead of regretting them later.

Career. Another pet peeve of mine — people never being happy with their career choice. You know, I can understand dissatisfaction if you do not work in your field of study. If you are stuck flipping burgers or working a cash register, I understand if your sense of fulfillment is lacking. But then there are those who are eternal students. They keep earning new degrees in drastically varying fields. If they ever hold a job, they quickly get bored and seek for something “bigger and better”.

There comes a time when you just have to be happy with where you are currently at, especially during these tougher financial times.

By all means, get the education you want for a field of study that interests you. Strive to find a job that suits your interests as well as pays the bills and feeds your family. But the all too common mind changing needs to stop.

The choices we make. Regret does not feed happiness. It feeds sorrow. Start taking responsibility for the choices you make. Seek for happiness in your current situation, not in a situation that could have been.

Here, I will completely surprise myself and quote Dumbledore; for there is a lesson to be learned about the Mirror of Erised:

“The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would be able to look into it and see himself exactly as he is.”

Indeed! We are the happiest when we are satisfied with our life and the choices we have made. Our circumstances might be different. Some are rich, others are poor. Some have a big family, others have no one. Nevertheless, regardless of our personal situation, it is absolutely possible to succeed at the pursuit of happiness.

What makes you happy? What choices have made an impact on your life?

¹ My grandmother got engaged in 1975. When she died from cancer in 2007, the two had not yet married.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

Im memoriam — Richard Harris (1930–2002)