In Praise of a Small, Happy Life

I’ve realized recently that our thirties are a kind of world-building decade. We figure out if and who we want to marry and settle down with, perhaps we gain some clarity on our passions and career goals, and maybe we have children. So while you’re creating your future, hopefully you’re at least periodically asking yourself, what do you ultimately want from your life, what’s your ultimate purpose? It’s a question we should probably ask ourselves more often, and we shouldn’t settle for surface answers.


I’m somewhat obsessed with this great existential question as I bet most of us are in some way or another. Personally, when it comes down to life goals, I toggle between wanting contentedness living a simple life with family, friends and a meaningful job but then wanting to be an incredibly successful writer that people adore. I suppose that’s the ego-driven part of me that wants to be special. When that ego driven side of me rears its’ head, I want to be someone who’s considered exceptionally talented and creative. Someone like Mindy Kaling. When I look at her¬†Instagram feed, I can’t help but feel a tinge of jealousy – wondering why I haven’t gotten where she is. It’s more than just jealousy though, I also feel sometimes like if I don’t achieve that level of success, I will have failed. But when I step back and think about it, I know that not everyone can be a Mindy Kaling, and all of our journeys are our own. And maybe there’s a kind of vast journey continuum – where some of us are on smaller journeys – like indie films as opposed to sumer blockbusters.

So, this essay in the NY Times couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s a fascinating peek into how people find purpose in their lives.

The Small, Happy Life by David Brooks:

What does your small, happy life look like?

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