If you were to invest now in your future self, where would you put your time and energy? What would you want people to remember about you at your funeral? What are your most important life goals? What keeps you happy and healthy? If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken.

As the director of a study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. The Harvard Study of Adult Development has tracked the lives of 724 individuals for 75 years. Within this study, the clearest message that remains consistent every year is that “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.”

He mentions that it doesn’t end with having or not having a husband or wife. What counts is the quality of your relationships instead of the quantity. Consider involving yourself in a different behavior that still accomplishes what you need. For example, instead of purchasing online you can travel to a local shop. Experience something new with a friend or loved one.
Today, we are surrounded by electronic screens and many options to engage in conversations without having to see or hear one another. It’s important to lean into instead the real relationships, grow them and to build a meaningful life that you value.

Looking at the future you, what would you want your life to have at age 25, 40 or 60? At your funeral, what stories would you want these people to share? What are some of the best memories you’d love your family and friends to cherish and inscribe on your cremation urn and/or memorial?

In this video, Robert shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

Quote to Remember:
There isn’t time — so brief is life — for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. there is only time for loving — & but an instant, so to speak, for that.

Mark Twain in a letter to Clara Spaulding, 20 August 1886