Pursuing Happiness

At one point way back when, I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life. But later on I found myself pursuing happiness rather than living happiness. That led to me searching Google for the answer to:

“What should I do with my life?”

Among the millions of results was an interview with Po Bronson about his book What Should I Do with My Life? –  but I must say that I wasn’t inspired to read the whole book after reading sample chapters online. The quality of the writing is really disappointing, as if nobody read the book before it was published.  Bronson spent two years interviewing 900 people who’d asked that same question; among the interviewees was a lawyer who’d become a truck driver and an investment banker who had switched to catfish farming.  These men wanted to be closer to their children while doing something they liked.

These stories stayed with me, and in 2009 I gave up my stable job (and life) in New York City and moved to Paris when I met someone.  I’d found myself increasingly asking what in the world I was doing at a desk in midtown Manhattan suffering from stress-related illnesses while I didn’t even aspire to the career I was pursuing anymore.  Why not move to Paris?  I’d established a savings fund and I figured in Paris, while trying a relationship with someone I thought was special, I’d have time to write and to travel — to pursue my biggest passion.  Though it turned out I’d met the wrong someone, I still have my passions.

And I’m glad I left my unhappy job.

What did or would it take for you to change from an unhappy job?  What catalyst would cause you to pursue happiness?

(Image courtesy of thephotographymuse under a Creative Commons Attribution generic license.)

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Freelance writer, translator and copyeditor currently living in Amsterdam. Former stressed-out marketing and public relations person in NYC. Likes languages but really doesn't like flowers. Contact through GreenRabbitTranslations.com.


  1. Steve Holland on the 11th December

    I must say, I’m still waiting for the punch line of this article.

    • Mike Vardy on the 13th December

      I put the questions the author initially asked the readership back into the post – the hope was that a discussion would start amongst commenters (as it did with one of them) without having to have the questions left in.

      Thanks for your comment and feedback. It is much appreciated and taken into account – and thanks for reading.

    • Michael Thielen on the 23rd January

      As am I.

  2. David Smith on the 11th December

    I can relate to leaving a career you don’t aspire to any more. I’ve had several careers. They start interesting, then I learning everything I need to know for what I’m doing and they deteriorate into boring monotony. I’m thinking something more entrepreneurial next.

    Did you find a definite answer to what you should do with your life? (I’m guessing this website is part of it.)

    • Ana da Silva on the 13th December

      I always wanted to be a writer and to travel the world. I’m doing both – I’m doing it all slowly but I’m doing it 😉 At the moment I’m in Brazil.

  3. Rondal on the 14th December

    I think the biggest obstacle (or fear) is financially-driven. Though I’m not sure having a nest egg would initate a change by itself, it would certainly ease the transition from a reliable job to something more adventurous.

  4. Dale Coleman on the 2nd January

    I would love this article so much more if I wasn’t aspiring to enter the field that you found so miserable and unrewarding. Alas, it sure is inspiring to hear that people are still willing to take risks in order to follow their bliss. As an undergraduate senior, the question posited is one that I struggle with every single day. I’m still trying to hack out an answer, but the panic attacks have subsided (largely due to this website).

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