Do the simple things in life make us happy?
Does it sound a little glib and clichéd to say it’s not money or acquisitions that make me happy, but being around the people I care about and doing the things I love?
Wouldn’t we all prefer to be on sailing exotic seas, drinking expensive wine and eating expensive foods, and upgrading our possessions to the latest model? Maybe so, although I believe if we had these things all of the time they would lose their value and stop providing us with the joy we expect.
I am a huge tennis fan, and have watched Wimbledon year upon year hoping for a British victory. Finally, last year, Andy Murray won. It was an amazing day, barely believable, and it will stay with me forever. However, was I more appreciative because of the 77 year wait? I believe I was. If good things come too often, we can become a little blasé. That’s not to say I wouldn’t enjoy it if Roger Federer were British, I would, I’m just not sure I would appreciate his wins quite so much. When winning is expected, its ability to provide true joy is lost. We might feel happy and maybe even a little smug when our tennis star wins another tournament, but we won’t feel the elation we felt when Andy won Wimbledon.
Therefore, do we need to go through the pain of doing without to experience happiness? Do we need to yearn for something and should we have to fight to achieve it? Does that increase its worth? Maybe so, otherwise its value is lost.
This brings me back to my initial statement, which now seems a little contradictory.
It’s not money or acquisitions that make me happy, but being around the people I care about and doing the things I love.
It’s human nature to take for granted the things we see around us all the time, whether it’s a person or a possession. Likewise, it’s understandable that we would want something more than what we have, and strive, maybe unreasonably so, to get it. As the saying goes, the grass is often greener on the other side.
So what makes us happy? The way I see it we have two choices. We either learn to enjoy what we have, or we keep upgrading our desires. The first option may seem a little negative and unambitious; the second option may lead us to a lifetime of unhappiness, and we may pass something by that was of real value.
Life, at times, can be a bit of a trudge, which is why I think something midway is more appropriate. Be happy with what you have by reminding yourself of it on a regular basis, but don’t let it stop you from wanting that little something extra.
In essence, treat yourself. Just make sure it remains a treat.