“Si jeunesse savait, si vieillesse pouvait.”

We have this saying in French that, loosely translated, equates to “If youth only knew, if the old could still do.”

Isn’t that the truth that by the time we know better, our body has started to give up on us? The longest study on happiness ever conducted has revealed one key finding: Happiness is rooted in relationships. Not in money, things, careers or anything else, but in the connections that we have with other people.

Dying people sharing their biggest regrets in life regularly include statements like “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard” and “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends” alongside statements like “I wish I had let myself be happier”. Somehow those who have made it to the end of their life have gained a clarity that escapes most of us still trudging through the daily struggles of life.

Surprisingly absent from such lists and studies are pursuits on which most people waste an enormous amount of time and effort. Things like “I wish I had paid my mortgage faster”, “I wish I had gotten that new job/raise/promotion” or “I wish I had bought that new, fancier car”.

In the end, the choice is yours: Do you listen to the still small voice of your conscience steering you towards what you know will make you happy or do you let the loud shouts of consumerism take over and walk you further away from the things that really matter?

I’ve made my choice. And when I die, I will have no regrets.