Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What is the Price of Happiness?


I read an article a few Sundays ago in the New York Times entitled: How to Buy a Little Happiness. It really made me think about happiness and the accumulation of status and things. I am not really a status driven person. My personality type doesn’t really allow for that, though I did tell Paul the other day that my next car needs to be a cool car like a sports car, because I don’t just want to be practical. I know me, I’ll be practical – so practical that I will keep my Saturn until its death march before I get a new car.

I do like things though. I love books and trinkets and yarn of course, but even there I have scaled back a bit. The article points out that spending money on experiences makes people happier than buying things. Some men even agree with this. I love all my experiences, like traveling, so much more than what I could have spent with those dollars. Even the little events like mornings at the dog park with the kids and Paul drinking coffee and laughing is priceless.

I’ll take it as far as leaving a middle management position where I was being primed to move up in a corporation to try my hand at new things and return to my writer status. Some think I am crazy to leave the money and title behind, but I value my time and experiences more. The past 3 years have been great as I have more peace in my heart and all around me and no more work stress.

After the pet emergencies of the past couple weeks, time spent with them just being, is so much better than spent on an item I will post in a garage sale someday or a cocktail party with would-be socialites. When you have so much love like I have, this really hits home.

Paul agrees and we have decided on shared experiences for holidays and birthdays from weekends away to weekends at home from Broadway shows to pizza and a walk on the beach. Apparently the tide has turned and being debt-free, living simply, and finding peace and happiness in what you already have is cool.

The couple in the article worked their “normal” way of having things down to 100 total items. I don’t think I’ll ever get down to having a total of 100 things (Paul says he can if three are his iPhone, Mac and paints – the paints as a group count as one item).

I’m going to start simplifying by parting with 100 items each month for the rest of the year by selling, giving away or regifting them. I will also use the resources I have to make the stuff I need, like knitted bags or original designs for outfits. I already feel more at peace.


Miss Wendy said...

Good for you! I don't think I could reduce my home down to 100 things. I love the idea though....

Miss Wendy said...

Good for you! I know myself too well to know that I can't do that. I adore the thought though... maybe someday I can consider it.