Happiness and stuff.

27 Apr

What makes you really happy?

Ready?  Go!

Make a list.

I’ll wait.

[Need some music while you make a list.  Listen to this.  My confirmation kiddos loved it while they compiled lists of questions.]

Okay.  You have your list.  Now how many of those lines on your list are things?

I’m guessing not a whole lot.

More than likely, the bullet points on your list are words like family, friends, traveling, a job that’s fulfilling, meaningful relationships, learning, new experiences.  Right?  Things don’t make us happy.  We hear that all the time from educated people and studies.  Just because you have the great house and all the toys doesn’t equal happiness.  Right?

Right.  But damned if we don’t try.

I’ve noticed that in myself lately.  I’ve always known it’s true but this past week, I’ve noticed pronouncedly what all the experts say.  I buy something [new minty green bag from Target – on clearance; a new coffee table; 300 awesome straws from IKEA] and get a little excited.  I’ll carry the bag or put my feet up on the coffee table or drink iced coffee out of a great straw and think, This is the life.  Until it’s next week and it’s just old hat.  The bag will get dirty, the coffee table will gather dust and dog hair, and I will have cycled through every color of my new straws.  It isn’t so exciting anymore.  We’re back to square one and I just want to buy more stuff to simulate the immediate buyer’s happiness.

Darn experts.  They’re right.  Colorful straws [and big tvs and ipads and everything we’ve ever wanted] don’t make us happy in the long term.

How do we get it through our thick skulls when my brain seems to be wired towards accumulating things?  I literally hear myself correcting my own thinking when there is a thing I think I need.  Your life won’t change because of a thing, I tell myself.  Sometimes I listen.

And other times I buy 300 straws from IKEA.  [I really like straws.]

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