Less Money, More Happiness

Call up an image of a grumpy person bashing their head against a tree trunk
in your mind, and that’s about what I would equate my latest thoughts on the current socially acceptable lifestyle, aka “the rat race”.

We are all told some variation of the same thing: get good grades so you can go to college, go to college to get a good job, get a good job to buy what you want, buy what you want to be happy…wash, rinse, repeat…and then you die.

I feel like we were given, and continue to give young people the wrong tools. We were tragically lost somewhere along the way and people no longer know how to find happiness on their own….or did we ever have that skill?

Here’s a challenge for you: can you think of something that will make you a happier person that doesn’t have a financial implication? Whether it be having to purchase it or having to lower your income to do it (changing jobs, or taking more time off, etc.)

Maybe you can name several, maybe no more than one. Maybe you can name something that would make you happy for only an hour. I feel like you are a champion if you can think of something that is absolutely free that would make you a happier person indefinitely… If you can, do share!

My ideas tend to get very complex in order to achieve the “free”. Reading a new book, which I can get from the library for free, but I have to walk there so it wouldn’t take gas, and with snow, that becomes more challenging, etc. It is free, but I’d think of this as a more sporadic happiness and there are no guarantees. Some books are good (anything by Alexandra Fuller if you are in need of a recommendation) and some are crap.

Working less and having more time with my family most likely means less pay or at least less advancement potential.

Obviously changing jobs two years ago to chase my dreams had pretty significant financial costs. Which I still maintain was / is completely worth every penny lost.

But I am challenging myself, is it possible to find happiness over the course of, say, one year without the guarantee of any money to achieve it? And I feel completely ill equipped. It seems this is a skill I should have!

Do the rest of you have it and it is just me missing out? Or am I right in assuming this is an epidemic of humans today? That most people would list off 10 or more things to make them happier that all cost something for every 1 item that might be free? And that we would all view those 10 items as giving us exponentially more happiness than the one free one?

There is a point to this ranting…. next time.