Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Reality ÷ Expectation = Happiness Quotient


Long ago I used to house-sit for a couple when they went on vacation.  Year after year, Hawaii was their vacation destination.  They had a world map in their garage and they put a pin in the map of each vacation destination.  There were a few pins in Europe, a few pins around the continental United States, and about 15 pins stabbed all over the surface of  Hawaii.

For some reason this irked me.  Why Hawaii?  Every year?  Really?  When budget, timing, kids and flying weren't issues, WHY HAWAII?  EVERY YEAR?????

I finally got up the nerve to ask them about it.  The wife told me they had traveled to other places, but none were as satisfying as Hawaii.  So they pretty much stuck with their routine and were happy with it.

I have a co-worker that goes to Paris with his girlfriend each spring for a 6-week vacation.  Similar to the situation mentioned above, my co-worker has traveled to other domestic and international locations, but Paris is his go-to destination.  He has a huge boner for Paris.  Paris Paris Paris.  That is what he thinks about.  That is what he dreams about. That is where he wants to retire someday.

I DO NOT GET THIS.  Maybe I am just grouchy because I have never been to Hawaii OR to Paris, or because it seems nearly impossible for me to take more than three days off from work at a time, but HOLY-FUCKING-HELL there are other places to see!  Weird!  I guess they are happy with their approach so I shouldn't care. 

Lately I have been struggling with boredom -- I think I am just sick of the same old same old routine. Everything is so predictable.  BLEH.   

Then again big changes can be wildly exciting and deliciously unpredictable, but they can also be incredibly stressfull.

I suppose I am fickle.  Some days routine is nice, sweet, endearing and comforting.  Some days one is just on auto-pilot and one doesn't really think about routine -- one just does what needs to be done.  Then one day it suddenly becomes soul-crushing to do the same old shit again.

I recently finished reading this book. Interestingly enough, there is a character in the book that is an economist, and he has the following thought process about happiness:

Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult, page 130

Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult, page 131

Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult, page 207

Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult, page 208

Ninteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult, page 209

Thoughts on this?  Do you have a formula for your own happiness?  I think mine would include love, comfort, fun, variety, security and as much free time as possible. Or something like that?  It is hard to nail down the specifics, no? Maybe I am just struggling this because I am in my forties and in the TROUGH period.  Lol. Maybe.


Lorena said...

Very thought provoking J.
Like you, it makes no sense to me to go back to the same place over and over, that is UNLESS every time you go, you have a different plan.
For example every time I go to Argentina, I stay in a different hotel in a different neighbourhood, go to different restaurants and visit places I have not been to before. Now doing the same thing is kinda cuckoo for me too.
Just last week I was thinking that if you are too intelligent, its difficult to be happy, thus the quote, ignorance is bliss.
Then again you might be able to make it to a happy medium.
Money is not happiness, its just comfort and greater responsability.

fabulousjunk said...

Another great post! I am struggling with the term "happiness" and what is exactly the right formula to being happy. I find what excites me is the unexpected. Being on the road there is something new to discover everyday. It gets me up in the morning, it makes the day go by sooo much faster. Yet at the same time I crave a place to call home, some structure, a steady paycheck. I did the same thing every day for 4 years. I got up, went to work, went home, ate, showered, slept, and did it all over again. I thought I was in my own personal Groundhog day. Yet this is what everyone else was doing, this is what it meant to be an "adult" and to be responsible. If that was how the rest of my life was going to go.. well then fuck that. Yes I know what I am doing is completely spontaneous and extreme. But I needed to feel alive again, I needed to do something I have always wanted to do!

Don't feel so bad about your accident. It was not done maliciously, you are human. You made a mistake and everyone is OK. Thats the best part about it! It could have happened to anyone and there have been times it could have happened to me. Just the other day as I was backing out of a parking space a bicylist wizzed right past me. I couldn't see and I almost hit him. He was riding his bike like an asshole, but I knew if I did hit him, I would be blamed.


little luxury list said...

My happiness factors are similar to yours. While things are much simpler when we are young or old, we can certainly still be happy in the middle right? I can also understand expectations and reality being balanced to get a good happiness quotient. In the meantime, I'll take love, security, fulfillment, and enjoyable experiences then!

little luxury list formerly Chic 'n Cheap Living

Lindsey said...

Very interesting post. Happiness is definitely different for everyone and similarly, different people go on vacation for different reasons. Some do not seek adventure, they seek relaxation -- and that could mean going to some place that you know well so you don't have to put a lot of thought into what you're going to do from moment to momen. I'm somewhere in between I guess. I don't think I would EVER spend the money year after year to go to the same place for vacation but I do love the peacefulness of visiting my family in the same place and doing traditional things. That's circumstance-based though. Living overseas has taught me to REALLY appreciate the "normal" habits I developed over the years in America. I miss simple things like Target and the grocery store so when I go home, I always want to visit those places....THAT is what makes me happy. Having said that, we are going to Paris for Christmas....because we can :)

Jen@Road Trip Creative said...

Thankfully I think I'm smart enough to be grateful and that keeps me happy. Not everyday,but most days. I know I don't have everything that I want but I do know that I have much more than others so that keeps my discontent in check. The things I don't have yet? Just goals and aspirations. What's life without those? I too get SUPER restless and grumpy with sameness/boredom. I need new experiences, new challenges, a change of scenery or a few surprises to feel truly balanced.