Roseanne, also known as Rosanne Barr and Rosanne Arnold, had a joke about motherhood. She would say if the kids are alive at the end of the day I did my job! It was funny. How are you with what you have accomplished so far in life? Do you have a "bucket" list? Are you disappointed? Have you become a seminar junkie? Do you keep looking outside yourself for validation? For some people this means leaning on Jesus. While I realize there is a spiritual aspect to having your own personal savior, I would be leery of depending on outside validation to make you feel good about yourself.

A large part of happiness and contentment is how you view yourself. Studies show that material things actually effect very little of your lasting sense of joy. If you are below subsistence living there is no doubt that a more money will increase your enjoyment. However, once you are past subsistence living, doubling your income no longer doubles your happiness quotient. You are only 5 per cent happier for doubling your income. How can this be? We quickly adjust to a nicer car, and find that it still performs the same function as a regular car, albeit with fewer hassles than a junkie car. The same with a nicer house, and expensive clothes.

So what's the answer? Let's start with the idea of a "bucket list." Maybe you have a mini excavator bucket list, just a few things you want to knock off before you die. One of my friends had a trip to Ireland on that list. She and her Irish American husband had relatives there who would let them stay for free, if only the airplane tickets could be had. My friend and her husband joked it would be their ten year anniversary. Ten years went by, then twenty and no trip materialized, because although they had money for lottery tickets every week, bingo, and trips to Vegas, neither was willing to stick $5 in an envelope toward going to Ireland. At this point, it's almost like too much is riding on the trip. First off, they won't go unless someone hands them two tickets because planning on the trip is a mental impossibility. Second off, if they do go, 34 years of waiting and imagining is a lot.

So be leery of bucket lists. Sometimes putting too much pressure on a thing drains all the fun out of it. If you really want a thing, admit it to yourself. Only after you are honest with yourself can you make solid plans. Solid plans don't guarantee anything, and lack of planning guarantees failure. I don't have a bucket list myself because I've been in the habit of doing things when I want to. For that reason I don't have as much equity saved up in my financial portfolio, and I don't have a steady job and I don't have health insurance. That's bad. And yet my other friends who have all those things envy the time I have to write on, to go to yoga classes, and the time I spend hiking out in the woods.

Be aware of the law of attraction. If you are unhappy with yourself you are bound to attract people who will be only too happy to reflect that back to you. This can happen in a number of ways. Sometimes they are people who put you down, the difficult co-worker, the sadistic boss, the angry customer. Sometimes it hits closer to the bone. If you have close friends or loved ones who constantly put you down or undermine your confidence, look at your own actions. Are you failing to put up self preserving boundaries? Do you put yourself down in front of other people? Misery loves company, do you find your conversation is more negative than positive?

Take time for personal growth. Some of the things that are the most helpful are very inexpensive. Take out the Dvd, turn off the TV, and find some silence. If you have half an hour for the latest sit com, than trust me, you have ten minutes a day to do a simple meditation. Meditation slows the heart rate and gives the body rest. You will find you have clarity of mind and need less sleep. Answers to conundrums will come to you in the silence. You will gossip less and pass on positive thoughts more easily.

When Oprah Winfrey started her magazine she made a big deal about how it was not going to be another fashion rag. She wanted to write about things that empower women. It has a wide circulation. Yet in my opinion it still falls short of her goal. The pages are filled with slender successful well educated women of all colors. Reading the magazine can have the same effect as Vogue or Glamour, which is a sense of deflation 5 minutes after you close it. Even the supposed self-help articles are as vague and glossy as those found in the average woman's magazine. Honestly, if you want to be content in life, be careful what you put in your head. Read things of interest to you, crochet magazines if you like crochet, automobile magazines if you like cars, and stay away from news and finance if it's all bad, and fashion and self help.

Chose to be active about something. If you have a job you hate, try casting around for a reasonable alternative. The act itself is pleasurable. It reminds you have choices, it gives you a goal to work toward. If you are in a situation where leaving does not make sense because you are only a few years from retirement then look around at other aspects of your life to bring you the sense of accomplishment your job does not. Do you have a hobby such as gardening where things are created? What about a sport like biking, where the personal best can be a goal? Finding something that brings you pleasure can make all the difference.