As humans, we are continually on a quest to be happy.
I have been thinking a lot about happiness the last while.
How we define happiness in the “western” world (for me, this means Canada and the United States) is often tied to success, and success is defined in ways mostly linked to career and monetary achievement.
All around us are images that define happiness in this way: big homes, new cars, the finest clothes and jewelry. Get what others have, and you will be happy.
Judging by what we see in advertisements on television, magazines and online, we need to pursue this monetary happiness for ourselves.
In my 20s and 30s, I certainly defined myself to a large extent through my career success, and how well I provided for my family. I often compared myself to others, worried whether I was doing well enough, fretted about my house and my possessions.
In the last year I have re-considered those notions. I am more than my career, more than my house and my belongings. And I have found happiness in many other ways, as we have learned to live on less money than we had in the past.
Happiness to me is in experiences now. In having the time to enjoy a good book. In sitting on the beach and going for a snorkel. In puttering in my yard. In spending quiet time with my husband and lively times visiting with friends or family.
We are blessed to be able to live on less money than in the past, but we have made some conscious decisions that enabled that: eliminating debt, choosing to spend less, saving for what we want to do, discussing purchases and making decisions based on priorities.
We are fortunate. I am blessed. Stay tuned. I have some more thoughts on this.