February 10, 2009

How To Be Happy

(Playing in the background (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman- Aretha Franklin )

I came across a story on CNN called Study: Experiences make us happier than possessions that I really enjoyed. It details the results of a study that says that experiences make us happier than possessions.

It reminded me a bit of my childhood. I grew up in a middle class home but went to school with a lot of kids who came from far more affluent homes than the one I grew up in. I can remember complaining to my parents about it. I'd ask why Little Johnny had Intellivision and we didn't or why Loren Froah had a swimming pool and we didn't.

My father would tell me to get used to it, that throughout my life people would have more and that it wasn't important. For a while I thought of it as being a throwaway line parents use to get you to stop bugging them. Kind of like when you asked why you couldn't do something and they said "because I said so."

But after a while I realized that I had received good advice. My happiness wasn't tied into having to have possessions. It didn't mean that I didn't want things or that I didn't have my own set of prized possessions because I did. It just meant that I figured out that the things that made me happy were usually experiences.

(Playing in the background Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles)

Almost three years ago to the day I wrote a post called What Brings You Joy? that ties in nicely with this. I suppose that you could say that this is sort of a retread of that one, but...

Anyway, one of the lessons that I hope my childen learn is that learning how to be happy is contingent upon learning how to be content with who you are and not basing it upon what you have. It is not always easy. Sometimes there are things that we want desperately and we never get them.

All I know is that as I get older the list of things that I want is growing longer, but the reality is that what I really am looking for are experiences. More experiences and adventures. That is really what is important to me, sharing those moments with the people I love the most.

G-d willing I am going to be one of those people who lives their dreams.

2 comments:

Jacqueline Johns - Your Happy Life Mentor said...

Hey Jack!

From another Jack, who just happens to be The Happiest Person I Know! One of the reasons for my happiness is that I, like your good self, learned early that people, laughter, fun, make for happiness - not designer clothes, or the 'best' of everything.
We were poor, but abundant in laughter and friends, and luckily for us, were not taught that appearance is everything. I am so grateful for my 'disadvantaged' start in life (though my long-suffering, hard-working Mum would disagree) the lessons it left me have shaped who I am - The Happiest Person I Know.

Jack said...

Well said.