Reading Notes: A Short Guide To A Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
2 min read

Reading Notes: A Short Guide To A Happy Life by Anna Quindlen

How does life happen? When you're busy making plans - John Lennon.
A Short Guide To A Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making plans. John Lennon

Our society is built with systems and structures that help to keep everyone together or in their place. In a democracy, the leaders get elected by others. In a corporation, you work your way up with hard work or politics. No matter which system you live and work in, we are still a player in the system.

If you win the rat race, you're still a rat. Anna Quindlen

Even if you win a system imposed by society, you are still a prisoner of that society. For some, the system works for them, and they can lead content and happy lives within it. Others struggle in the race every day. Yet, they do not understand why they remain unhappy, even if they keep winning races.

Very few manage to break out of the system. They choose to participate no longer and venture out of the system, out into the unknown.

If the rat race is not for you, one needs to break out from the system and explore alternatives. Anything is possible.

Knowledge of our own mortality is the greatest gift God ever gives us. Anna Quindlen

The death of a loved one is painful, and your world takes a different shape. There is "the life before" the loved one's death and "the life after" they are gone.

The bubble of energy that once sparkled your life has left a void. Some try to fill the void with other bubbles of energy. Others learn to live with the vacuum, adjusting and embracing what is left and still living.

You become a different person in the life "after" without your loved one. There will be no more conversations with them; no more moments will be shared; no new memories will be made.

Until the realisation of everyone's mortality touches your soul, it is all too easy to take everything that has been given to us for granted.

It is so easy to exist instead of live. Anna Quindlen

When mortality touches you, your understanding of life has a different meaning.

Life is no longer about existing in the world. You can no longer take each day for granted. You realise, at any time, the moment will never return.

The person you have just met, spoken to, or loved, may be gone forever.

Or perhaps, you may not ever have the chance to do what you need to do while you and everyone else are still breathing, still alive.

Knowing how precious time is, one begins to question everything.

Is this essential? Will this matter when I die?

I learned to love the journey and not the destination. I learned that this is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. Anna Quindlen

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