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Nobody optimizes happiness

My birthday is around the corner and it was only in the last few (pandemic) years that I’ve come to fully accept a key idea I’ve long believed – I am responsible for my happiness.

The goals I choose to pursue, the ways in which I spend my time, and the people I surround myself with are my responsibility.

We spend much of our youth being told what to do. This is especially true in a Chinese household, where you listen to your parents and do what they tell you. My parents were pragmatic in that we could discuss what we were told, to a limited degree, but ultimately we did it. To this day, when my parents tell me to do something, I do it. It’s just how it goes and I’m OK with that.

But when you’re used to be told what to do, there’s comfort in that. You don’t have to wonder if you’re working on the right things. When you aren’t told, whether by parents or by society, it can be very difficult. That’s what happens when you retire because you “don’t have to work” – and that’s a huge challenge. I love articles that discuss that transition and today’s first post hits it on the head.

Nobody optimizes happiness [Dynomight] – “My favorite evidence comes from the FIRE (financial independence / retire early) community. There are tons of people who work hard, minimize expenses, and retire young. Some people who do this are totally happy. But there are also a lot of reports like… ‘I retired at 39. It sucked after about 6 months. I went back to college for a bit and eventually went back to work in a new career. Boredom was the worst.'”

I last shared this image back in January of 2021 and after a year and a half, I think it needs to be revisited:

Who do we spend time with across our lifetime? [Our World in Data] – “Who we spend time with evolves across our lifetimes. In adolescence we spend the most time with our parents, siblings, and friends; as we enter adulthood we spend more time with our co-workers, partners, and children; and in our later years we spend an increasing amount of time alone. But this doesn’t necessarily mean we are lonely; rather, it helps reveal the complex nature of social connections and their impact on our well-being.”

Simon Sinek’s Life Advice Will Change Your Future — Most Underrated Speech [Motivation Core] – “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called ‘stress’. Working hard for something we love is called ‘passion’.” It starts at Mach 1 and only goes faster.