I've developed this philosophy gradually, spurred in part by a lot of reading --- particularly happiness psychology and certain literary classics --- which in turn induced me to start paying closer attention to what makes me happy. (Not that I needed much arm-twisting; I've always been an introspective sort.) Although I'm sometimes staggered by the amount of bad stuff that happens in the world, and do my best to chip away at some of it in my own tiny way, ultimately I believe that you can't go wrong by taking your own life seriously, paying attention to what you like and don't like, and trying to bring reality into alignment with your preferences, insofar as you are able to do so without unduly imposing on anyone else. (By "seriously" I don't mean "stern frowny face"; I just mean life is not a joke, it's the real thing.) Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: "To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive." And he was right.
At the same time, building the life you like involves taking account of costs as well as benefits. I've found that I tend to be more cost-conscious than many people, in a broad sense. I don't just mean where money is concerned, but with all sorts of costs. I'd rather make a modest living doing something I like than make more money doing something I like less. I'd rather pursue something as far as I like, and then stop (or take a breather), instead of pushing it so far and so hard that I lose the enjoyment that brought me to it in the first place. I'd rather appreciate the simple but surprisingly powerful little pleasures that life throws at us every day, instead of straining towards grandiose goals which, even if achieved, often aren't worth the sacrifices required to attain them. A beautiful sunset, a good book, a tasty sandwich, a walk in the woods, a lively conversation, a dime on the copy machine --- these give you (or me, anyway) the lion's share of the daily dose of happiness, and they cost very little besides time and attention.
This self-description probably makes me sound terribly boring --- and some people might call me that. I mean, I wouldn't call me that, nor would most people I know, but according to what seem to be mainstream definitions of "boring" vs. "exciting", I prefer the boring stuff. My main pastimes are reading, playing the piano, computer programming, analyzing various sorts of data for fun, and going for walks (or hikes), with interludes of hanging out with pals shooting the breeze or playing board games or the like. I find that stuff exciting. I don't have much interest in loud or high-velocity activities. I mean, geez, look at this profile. It's written in full sentences with periods and capitalization and everything. I'm obviously a total square!
That's not to say that I've spent my whole life sorting my socks. I've got a PhD; I've been on Jeopardy; I've traveled (mostly solo) through a respectable number of states and countries, and plan to do more of that in the future; and those are just a few of the tricks up my sleeve. But my temperament is such that, for me, happiness nearly always comes in the form of quiet, contemplative contentment, not frenzied exhilaration.
Now, of course, this is a dating website. The above should hopefully give you an idea of what sort of fellow I am. As for what I'm looking for, you should know that the philosophy outlined above is in full effect. That means I want to find someone I like and stick with her, and I actually pay attention to what I like and don't like about people, and I'll consider costs as well as benefits, and all that sort of stuff. For me the goal is to get to a point where the relationship is, for both of us, a refuge from the bad parts of the outside world, as well as a base from which to explore and savor the good parts together. I'm not interested in any romance that doesn't at least point in that direction. (I'm open to meeting friends through this site too, though, so that's cool.) That means you'd probably better be pretty sweet, because I am too, but my sweetness is of a synergistic sort that requires a complementary sweetness in order to reach full flavor.
If you think all of this makes me sound picky, you're right. I'm in no particular rush, and I'd rather not get involved in something that's I don't think is going to last for the long haul. I'm looking for a relationship that will make me happier than I am right now, which is no simple quest. On the other hand, I don't hold it against anyone else if they're picky too. In fact, it seems like just about the only way this can work eventually is if I meet someone who is so doggone picky that, until she met me, no one else quite fit the bill.