Before we get into the meat of our bookclub this week, I need to offer my condolences to our friend, Denise, upon the passing of her father. Of course she's taking some time away from blogging and bookclub to process, and my prayers and thoughts are with her.
In her spirit, we continue forward with this week's chapter from The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Money, money, money to happiness is the topic. Does filling your bucket with money lead you to happiness? Here are Gretchen's resolutions revolving around money:
- Indulge in a modest splurge.
- Buy needful things.
- Spend out.
- Give something up.
Happiness and money are complicated companions. Gretchen explores the push and pull extensively.
Here are two thoughts I found surprising about our views on money:
1. People measure themselves agains their age peers...so if you feel like you make more money than others your age...you tend to feel happier. People measure their happiness with their pay based on their perceptions of where they fit relative to others.
2. We Americans living in great relative wealth don't rate our quality of life much higher than people living in poverty in Calcutta. (Most people give themselves a mildly happy rating.)
Two thoughts I considered longer:
1. "What makes me happy is to spend money on the things I value–and it takes self-knowledge and discipline to discover what I really want, instead of parroting the desires of other people."
2. "It's easy to make the mistake of thinking that if you have something you love or there's something you want, you'll be happier with more."
In this chapter, for the first time, we get to read how Gretchen handled a perceived failure of her Happiness Project. She begins to doubt all of her resolutions and exercises. I appreciated her simple story of children bickering, bad moods, inconsistent marital messages and how they all led her to want to give up the cause of happiness. She resolved to get more sleep and things looked better after a few days... I can relate to wanting so much to start a plan, focus on positivity, then to have an event (or 7) compound forces against your efforts...so I was happy to be able to relate to her a bit better through her struggle.
So, here's what I'm taking on for this week. Give Something Up. I kind of love the contrary nature of the statement to all associations of happiness and money. I'm still deciding what exactly this might be for me. Perhaps the occasional Starbucks coffee? Maybe that extra cosmetic that I don't really need?
What would it be for you? What role does money play in happiness?
A pinnable for you:
Happy Thursday, friends. XOXO, MJ