You read and watch enough science fiction and you will sooner or later encounter the "parallel universe" idea: that there is another "you" out there somewhere who went left when you went right, who zigged when you zagged, and in some way lived a different life than you. It could be something inconsequential, like getting a haircut on #3 clippers instead of #4, or it could be something rather major, like marrying a different person or going into a completely different line of work.
The question essentially comes down to "am I living the best possible life for myself?"
I can answer that easily. No.
I mean, come on. There is simply no way I can say I have made every possible decision to maximize my own happiness. Of course I have made bad decisions in my past, and of course I have missed opportunities that if I had taken them would have improved my life. That's axiomatic.
The real and more fundamental question, though, is "am I happy?" That's the only one that really matters. Not because you can't go back and fix the past (sometimes you can, and sometimes thinking about the past helps one make better decisions in the future) but because thinking you know what your future self will want, and more to the point, what your future self will find happiness in, is impossible.
I can't say, as Dr. Pangloss does in Candide, that this is the best of all possible worlds and that everything that happens happens for a reason. That's clearly mad, as Voltaire was trying to say. Nor am I on a bridge looking at the raging water below and thinking about killing myself a la George Bailey. I don't have unrecognized dreams like he did, and in any case, I don't have a Clarence Oddbody to help me see what a wonderful life I am living.
Thankfully, I don't need Clarence to tell me that. I just need to look at my son, my daughter, and most of all my wife to remind me that I am not living in the best of all possible worlds:
It's better even than that.
Merry Christmas, everyone!