Stephen W. attended a course given by Ven. Chodron in the early 1990s in India and has remained her student since. In 2014, he included the following in a letter to her.

I remembered a conversation we once had when I was about 24 I think. I thought I would share it with you in case it’s amusing to others…. please excuse the following indulgence of sharing some thoughts I’ve been having recently.

The memory is that I was telling you that I really wanted a good job, and you replied that you knew many people in their 40s who thought that their career would bring them happiness – and guess what? Yep, it didn’t!

And now here I am in my 40s, with a perfectly decent career and guess what?? Still no happiness.

Then after the career I suppose I thought having a partner would make me happy – guess what??

Then a child seemed to be the thing that would make me happy…. and guess what??

Then it seemed like if I just had a house……(actually a second house!) and guess what??

So in fact, here I am in my 40s, with all the things ticked off the list… and guess what?!! You guessed it – still no happiness!

So this is of course no surprise, but I thought I would share it with you, and it might be amusing to others!

I do feel that I am very very very slowly learning from my mistakes, and don’t entirely believe any more whatever it is that my mind is telling me is the NEXT external thing that will make me happy. And I’m still practicing the Dharma.