Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happiness Quotient


The full moon rising



How do we decide what method to use to measure our happiness?

Science has repeatedly proven when we say we’re happy there are parts of our brain which are stimulated to give us an actual sense of happiness. I don’t know how long that effect lasts, but I would guess that it would have at least as long of an impact as buying something that we don’t really need.

For years I didn’t fully appreciate the life I have. Every time Ben and I talked to others about what we do and where we do it, we evoked friendly envy. Just a few years ago, I finally listened to what they were saying and looked deep at  our lives here, rather than giving my usual put-downs about how we don’t have any money. Upon examination through  a pair of non-tinted lensed I finally realized that we are doing exactly what  we wanted, exactly what we had set out to do, and are living the lives we very deliberately designed; but I had believed, according to the gospel of capitalism, that since we were not rich we could not be happy.

How foolish I was.

In retrospect, I think I had always felt guilty for being so fortunate and only told myself I wasn’t happy. But I always look back with very fond affection at our past.

Fortunately I woke to reality. And I’m telling you today that, despite a lack of financial abundance and excessive consumerism, it’s very easy to be happy if you don’t follow the ideals that most economists evangelize as being the true path to happiness. Science has also proven, repeatedly, that money doesn’t buy happiness.

I’ve relaxed a great deal in the last few years – perhaps that is merely a result of aging, but I believe it has to do more with enlightenment on what happiness actually is. Although many of us don’t realize it, we all end up living the lives we design for ourselves by the choices we make. Many of us – I used to be one of them – feel like we’re thrust along the river of life by the flow of the stream, but we each make decisions every day that affect the route we follow.

We just need to make sure we’re making the right choices.

The lives we’re living today is the consequence of the choices we made yesterday. It is foolish to regret the past, which is gone and irretrievable. What will be best for our futures will be to make the choices today that will result in consequences which make us happy tomorrow.


Ben cleaning up the grout on the new tiles on our studio window



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