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Having “Blank” Will Make Me Happier

Having blank will make me happier

Graphic designed by QC using PicMonkey.

We often want what we don’t have. I believe this comes from the deep-rooted and innate desire of finding happiness. We think, “I will be happy when…” or “Having ____ will make me happier”. Believe me, I speak from experience. I am pretty much an expert at looking for happiness, not finding it, and then finally discovering it in unexpected ways.

As a young mother living in a 1900 square foot home with four children I should have been happy with my lot. Don’t get me wrong, I was in many ways. But by the time my fifth was born I began feeling the walls close in around me. What I didn’t realize was that it was not the square feet, but the way the home was laid out. Many small rooms did not accommodate a large family with five growing children. I felt like the next step to happiness was a larger home. So that is what we did. We bought bigger.

Owning a large home did not bring the lasting happy I thought it would.

There were certainly times of gratitude and the initial happiness of moving into a new space. But once life settled in there was a different set of problems to deal with, which spurred other thoughts of what would bring happiness. This spiraled into purchases, taking out loans, and spending hard-earned money on things that would ultimately not make a difference in the scheme of my overall contentment.

I cannot lie, filling up that big house did make me happy in certain moments. But it was temporary and also came with a huge price tag. I’m not just talking about the price of the Italian leather sofa or the price of the baby grand piano. But rather, the price of my time. The time it took away from family to go to work to pay for the means to fill that big house. {see Small House = Big Life}

As a matter of fact, I have spent a good 2/3 of my life buying and acquiring things. Things that I now see as silly. As a result, I have been spending the past few years going through all of those things and getting rid of them. Playing this crazy mind game of selling, donating, and trying to somehow recapture their worth–which has now become an invaluable culmination of both my time and money spent.

It is a crazy game, this consumerism thing.

I can sit here and talk until I am blue in the face about how you should not go out and buy that huge house and how living small is going to make you happier. But it isn’t going to matter. Because I know you. Right now you want what you have never had. You haven’t experienced what I have, so you don’t know the difference.

Some people learn better through experiencing things for themselves and this consumerism game is something that dawns on one after the experience of dabbling in it. After spending hundreds of thousands, only to find it gone and wasted. After the fact of waking up with regret because you could have gone on those trips around the world or retired early with that money.

So I know you will.

You will buy into owning a huge home with a huge mortgage. You will become just another cog in the huge economic engine of society. Just like I did. Almost all of us do. It epitomizes “I have made it” and you want to make it. You want people to know you have the shiny cars and the gorgeous home. Because then people just have to look to see what you have. No asking or wondering required. And somehow in our minds this feels good. It looks good. It becomes the appearance of all things happy.

I recently spoke to a friend whose husband is a doctor. They have a large family and a gorgeous million dollar home. Guess what? She wants to downsize. She wants to minimize. She wants to spend her money differently, on things that matter. She wants to spend her time on things that matter. Experiences. Travel. Service.

I thought about our conversation and it dawned on me that she wanted the smaller home, because like me, she had done things the way that society dictates as “fulfilling” and realized the cost. She realized it did not bring happiness. Deciding to do things differently is more than not feeding your hard-earned money into this economic engine. It is about wanting to keep your money. It is not wanting to lose any more. It is about being sick and tired of things being taken away from you. Things that you have spent your time and talents earning. Things that you should be able to keep.

To me, happy now means spending my money wisely and putting it where it counts. Happiness means not allowing myself to be a victim. I’ve learned that happy comes from within. It isn’t a house, it isn’t a car, and it certainly isn’t an Italian leather sofa. Happy is filling my life with those things that come completely free. Things like family, love, walking in nature, reading a good book, and growing spiritually. To me, these things are priceless. These things are worth my time. And these things can never be taken away.

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