Monday, September 18, 2006

"Stumbling on Happiness"

That is a title of a book by Daniel Gilbert. He was on the Today Show this morning. I find it interesting how these news shows are doing a lot of stories on happiness lately and how money doesn’t make you happy.

A couple things they talked about this morning made me think:

1) The author quoted someone (don’t know who) who said, “If money doesn’t make you happy, you’re not spending it right.”

I don’t actually think money is the answer to happiness, but I believe what money does buy that makes you happy is opportunity. People with money have the opportunity to do things the less fortunate do not. Such as go to college, send your kids to college, take dance classes or music lessons and travel to far away places. Not to mention, live with the lightness that comes with being debt-free.

It’s funny (well maybe not funny) looking at my credit card bill and the long list of items here and there that add up to way more than I thought they would…small things I bought because it was something to do that day and they looked pretty under the spotlights. Spending too much money isn’t really a weakness of mine, but I could definitely spend less money. Especially because the day will come when that money will need to be spent on a mortgage or graduate school, or credit card payments for my husband who spent all his money on a car he couldn’t afford or computer equipment he doesn’t use. Of course, I don’t see myself marrying an idiot. Boy, I hope I don’t marry an idiot.

The author stressed spending money on experiences rather than objects. I’ve always believed in making travel a priority. As my dad says, “you’re investing in yourself when you spend money on the experience that comes with travel.” Those things make you happier LONGER than say, an expensive piece of jewelry or an overpriced haircut. The experience stays with you and actually cultivates your character. Especially when you travel with friends or family. When you travel with people you’re close with, you reminisce with each other, laugh and talk about the things you shared. Remember D.C.? The cruise? Las Vegas? New York? Those were good times. Looking forward to Hawaii in February. Which brings me to the second thing that makes me happy:

2) Spending time with friends and family.

Humans are naturally social creatures and we crave company and interaction others. That seems like an obvious one. But how it makes you happy is what’s interesting. Quality conversations and time with people you enjoy actually makes you healthier. And being healthier makes you happier. The number of friends and the amount of time you spend with them was actually a question on the RealAge test that makes you younger.

Looking back over these past couple years I’ve recently noticed how much happier I am. I used to get frustrated with myself more; I used to cry over myself more. I’ve lightened up; I don’t take the negative things people say so seriously. And I attribute a lot of this to the relationships I have with my family and more specifically my friends. I have great friends that I get to see or at least talk to every day. Most of which read this blog, and so to you, I want to say thanks for contributing to my happiness. I love spending time with you all and I love that you spend time with me. I don’t have much to cry about these days. mostly because I spend my time laughing instead. I don’t know, maybe life is a little too comfortable right now. I need to try harder at something, so I’ve been trying harder at expressing how much I appreciate everyone. Sometimes it’s harder than it needs to be, but it’s important to me, because my family and friends are important to me.


little dre said...

Oooooooo...i really like this post, a lot.

joN. said...

several years ago i decided that i wouldn't make any new friends at all. you can read about it at i figured life was easier alone and i didn't need anybody else to let down or say goodbye to.

i'm very very glad i didn't abide by my own policy. of course i hope to never say goodbye to you laura. that would be a sad day indeed, so no sense in that ever happening.

laura said...

Thanks, friends.

Abel said...

I hope you don't marry an idiot. Life would be ugly.

Maria said...

Ok- so I'm a lame friend for reading this entry a whole week late. Now I feel like a jerk because you've said these lovely things about your friends and I haven't shared my gratitude or love for you all week! Friend, I'm glad we are friends too... you know this.

Hawaii is basically going to be the best thing EVER!!