The key to happiness is found primarily in realistic expectations. There are at least two components to realistic expectations. The first is not expecting things which cannot possible bring happiness to do so – and it’s a long list that begins with material possessions and goes on to include relationships, jobs and careers, homes, neighborhoods, friends, pets, and just about anything else we might call our own. The reason these things can’t bring happiness is that they all end. Every living thing will eventually die, causing our relationship with it to end, and every inanimate object will eventually wear out or break. Even money eventually goes away. The second component to realistic expectations involves understanding that everything changes all the time. When we get caught in the romantic language of our culture we say foolish things like “I want this moment to last forever,” and we tell those we love to never change. Neither is possible, of course. If we really want lasting happiness, our energy must be devoted to learning to accept life just as it is rather than trying to change it to suit our foibles and peccadilloes. Life as it is can bring happiness — all we need to do is choose to allow it to do so!