5 articles on searching for happiness

As we enter sleepy mid-August and once more contemplate the meaning of well, everything, from the beach, the all-important topic of “happiness” has re-emerged. Here’s a selection of the best happiness pieces published in recent weeks:

Use bad exam results as an opportunity to spring forward in life

Students sitting exams

Students in Britain will today be anticipating the results of their A Level exams with trepidation. Land top marks and they’re off to the uni of their dreams. A successful career and a property in Surrey await.

Get low grades and, bam, it’s the call centre.

Or perhaps not.

My A Level results were abysmal – two ‘E’s, a ‘C’ and a ‘D’.  My reaction was one of dismay and disbelief. But I deserved to get those terrible letters. I was a slacker, and even my best effort, Geography coursework, was risible (ironically it was about litter).

I was incredibly fortunate to get into university. Offered a place at the University of Hull, I was determined to work harder to thank whichever divine being got me there. I finished four years later with a more respectable result, and the ride had been fun too (while bumpy).

In the years in the “real world” since, I have failed and failed again. I have clambered back up on each occasion, often with immense difficulty. 2013 left me reeling, bruised, bloodied and battered in ways unprecedented. Head spinning, I sought to bounce back once more, and more or less succeeded. I will fail again, and will continue to fail until death, which of course is failure in itself.

Your school exam results will be the first of many big tests in life. Embrace whichever outcome comes your way.

Besides, university education is one of several options, and almost certainly the most expensive. You can start a business, join the workforce “early”, or get overseas experience – all of which are in all probability better career and life paths.

Eat tarantula in Cambodia

Fried tarantula, Romdeng restaurant in Cambodia
  • Experience: Eat fried tarantula in Cambodia
  • Where: Romdeng restaurant, Phnom Penh
  • Why:  Romdeng is a beautiful restaurant working to build the futures of former street children and marginalised young people in Phnom Penh. It has a gift shop, free WiFi and paintings by children. It also has fried spider (and stir-fried tree ants, if you’re still hungry)

Fried tarantula, Romdeng restaurant in Cambodia