Last Friday, April 22nd was the 30th anniversary of my brother’s death. He died at 8 years old. I wrote about it a few years ago as a way of celebrating his life and remembering him. Time heals. But it still fucking hurts.
Not surprisingly, it’s around this time of year that I really reflect on my life, on what I’ve done (both good and bad) and what I will do (hopefully mostly good). It’s been a couple months since I found myself out of work (I was previously VP Product at VarageSale), which is the first time that’s ever happened to me. I’ve spent that time working on some pretty interesting projects (none of which I can share today), but also trying to spend some time thinking about what I want to do next. In the grand scheme of life what happened at VarageSale is pretty small, although it’s still hugely disappointing to me. But as they say, life’s too short–and holy fucking shit are they right.
My brother lived 8 years. That’s it. I’ve lived (almost) 41 years. I still feel like I’m 20 (OK, maybe 25…OK, maybe 25 in my mind, 40+ physically…) I’m probably 50% of the way through, fuck, maybe even more. “So, Yosko, what have you done for me lately?”
It’s taken me awhile to get it, and I know I forget from time to time in the daily struggles of life, but I try very hard to remind myself regularly to optimize for happiness. I don’t want to get all mushy or inspirational on you, but at the end of the day what else is there?
People derive happiness from all sorts of things. The challenge is figuring out what makes you happy. Hopefully it’s something productive and meaningful. Hopefully it involves sharing with and helping others. I tend to think of happiness the same way I think of analytics: you can’t be completely driven by it, but you should be led by it. Use data to make better decisions but don’t rely exclusively on it (use your gut and insights too). Happiness is the same way. Use what makes you happy to guide your decisions and drive you, but make sure you have a healthy dose of reality mixed in too. I’m never going to be a pro hockey player. I’m never going to cure the world of cancer. So be it. But there are plenty of challenging yet achievable goals that I can go after that make me happy. Find yours. (And if you’re the rarest of rarest birds and can cure cancer or save the world, do it already!)
Don’t waste time solving problems that don’t matter.
Don’t waste time working with assholes.
Don’t waste time worrying about what people think of you.
Time is so fucking fleeting. You blink and you’re done. So do something with your time that matters to you. Make it count and optimize for happiness.