We make choices to achieve an objective. The objective is defined by an individual's preferences. Subject to constraints, the objective is approached or achieved. Is this a good characterization of life? To answer this question we weaken one of the most basic assumptions of economics: individuals know their preferences. Instead we assume that an individual's preferences are shaped and reshaped by his environment, experiences, expectations, and by exogenous events. In this model of individual self-discovery, preferences emerge, evolve, and change. These redefinitions change the future course of the individual's life and reinterpret his past. They characterize a life lived. Â© 2011 Elsevier Inc.