You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s Cheap)

The second endeavor into simplicity and minimalism, “You Can Buy Happiness (and it’s cheap)” this one written from the perspective of someone who radically downsized to live in a tiny house. That is, without a doubt, an extreme that I do not find myself pulled to replicate, but there were some gems in her book I wanted to highlight and remember going forward.

“Happiness comes from connecting to your community and building strong relationships.” 

This is without a doubt a theme for me this year. It keeps showing up in everything. I read this two-fold. First, the need for connections. Second, the need for contentment. For myself, I read “community” as someone who has built ties with a place and with people. That is not possible if I continue to uproot myself and my family from our surroundings. Therefore, this for me is a need to build contentment in my life to allow me to connect and create community.

Materialistic Unhappiness

In Chapter 1 she talks about the idea of buying happiness and how this unhappiness is actually fed by more consumption. “Strong Materialistic values are associated with a pervasive undermining of people’s well-being.” Like a never ending spiral of purchased dissatisfaction, the only way out is to break the cycle.

My daughter yesterday said, ” Everything costs money.” I immediately had to change her frame of reference. “Everything” is one of those words that if you’re not careful can hurt your way of thinking. I corrected her and said “Taking a walk is free. Talking to your mom is free. Swimming with Grandpa is free. Stuff that you own, is not free. But there are lots of things in life that don’t cost money.”

Early on, I mentioned how I had seen my consumerism in her, and I still see it in her, so this is something that is important for me to correct and continue to re-frame for both her happiness as well as my own.

Tracking Time

How do you spend your day? Have you ever stopped to track where the hours are spent? I am someone who enjoys tedious tasks yet this one seems tedious even to me. Though I don’t know that I would ever pencil in all the specifics of my day, the idea is something I can get behind.

It started with TV. Good god, when a new show catches my attention, I’m a terrible binge watcher. Time can quickly get away from me. It’s helpful for me to look at the picture of my day and think about what I’m getting out of that time and if that’s really the best thing for me to focus all those hours on.

“Increased happiness requires a shift in attention towards time”

Being able to look at the big picture of what my goals are and then spend at least a portion of my time working towards that. This blog is honestly one of those goals. You can see from the sporadic nature of these posts that this is a goal I am still very much working towards and have yet to accomplish that goal 🙂