Real Happiness or Perceived Happiness?

Posted by 6 July, 2008 (2) Comment

My wife and I just got back from a trip to Austin where we attended a friend’s wedding. Not to get off track, but if you haven’t been to Austin and you enjoy music, people watching, and the outdoors, then it’s a destination you really must consider.

At any rate, my wife and I were talking about how we’d love to live in Austin again (it’s where we went to college, and where we met). There are many features that appeal to us. We both still have a lot of friends down there which is a big plus. Because Austin is known for being more environmentally and socially conscious, we feel the city and the people are more aligned with our values. Bike lanes are everywhere, which is really cool in my opinion. There are also a lot of music, cultural and community festivals that you don’t get in a lot of other cities. Not to mention the small matter of our UT football season tickets (Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of my zeal, I’m already starting to watch old games from last season and we’re still 2 months away from the first game). The immediate downside to Austin is the housing prices which are probably the highest in Texas (more than likely still cheap compared the east and west coasts). There really aren’t any other negatives.

However, I brought up the point, would we really be happier down there, or is this happiness a perceived one only? My wife and I agreed that we probably would not be happier per se, but there is a lot to be said for your social surroundings.

I then applied this thought process to our upcoming move (we are trying to sell our house and move into a house with a lower payment that is closer to downtown Fort Worth), and whether it is real happiness or perceived happiness that is driving us to a particular location. We certainly feel that moving to a more centrally located area will make us happier. For me, it’ll make me happy because of the financial ramifications – i.e. saving money, getting out of debt, etc. It’ll also make me happy when I don’t have to drive as far for work, to meet with friends downtown or for my soccer games. For my wife, I know it’ll make her happy to cut her commute down from about an hour, to 15 minutes. I think she’ll also enjoy not driving towards downtown for entertainment. We’d also be very close to bike trails, musuems, and parks.

For these reasons, I think moving to central Fort Worth would bring us real happiness. The largest downside of moving into Fort Worth from Keller (where we currently live) would be that Keller ISD has a very good reputation, and it is a safe community in which to raise a family. And while these factors are important, we don’t necessarily feel as though it is worth all of the sacrifices we are making to live so far from town.

After thinking about this all weekend applying these ideas of happiness both to our current situation and possible future moves, my conclusion is that moving to Austin in and of itself may only bring us perceived happiness, but if we were able to find good jobs (or, hopefully, work for ourselves) and we lived centrally, it may in fact bring real happiness.

If you think this post is cool, please consider adding me to your RSS reader here or by let me deliver future posts by e-mail:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Categories : Happiness Tags :

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Posted by 5 June, 2008 (0) Comment

Basically, I need to find balance in my life. I was on the swing at the park swinging as high as I could without a care in the world. I didn’t want to come down from the swing. It was nice to remember my 8 year old self and how I didn’t have anything to worry about.

I’m a naturally serious, competitive person. It took my childhood for me to lighten up and not turn everything into a competition. As a child at a roller skating party, circa 1985, I would ensure that I not only won all of the contests during the rolling skating party, but that I went around the rink more times and faster than everyone else.

Fast forwarding to today, I keep a pretty full plate. I tend to get so wrapped up in various goals and achieving them as quickly as possible that I tend to forget I need to need to actually enjoy life… because you never know how long you have.

There are a few steps I am taking to ensure that I enjoy myself. I’ve begun running on a regular basis (yeah endorphins!). I’ve always run, biked and have been playing soccer since age 4. However, I haven’t played soccer in 2 years and I have not been very consistent with running or biking. Another step I’m taking to ensure I enjoy myself is that I’m making time to hang out with old friends and I’m trying to make new friends.

My wife and I have begun entering 5K races. There are a few reasons for us entering races, but mainly we want to be consistent in our running. Our biggest problem in life is that we are inconsistent and tend to not keep up with activities – leisure or otherwise. If we enter into races and pay the entry fees a month ahead of time, we feel we will be “forced” to follow through. It also encourages us to jog a few times a week so that we run each race in a respectable time. In between running I’ve been biking in order to give my joints a rest, but still get some exercise in. For my wife and I, running is a way for us to stay in shape as well as make time to take care of ourselves and realize we need to take time out for us.

I’ve also recently started playing soccer again. I’ve been kicking the soccer ball around the park lately and have realized how much I miss it. Being proactive, I joined a team and our first game was last night. In the past, I would have easily given my present performance on the field a big thumbs down, but I’m trying to be easier on myself and enjoy everything instead of taking myself so seriously that activities ceases to be fun. My team lost, but I was able to cut myself a break and concede that my performance was okay considering I haven’t played in two years. Oh, and did I mention I scored a goal?

Soccer is a great way for me to relieve stress, but I hope it leads to friendships. Slowly but surely I’m trying to make new friends. Over the past few years, I’ve had friends that I’ve had since childhood go their separate ways. I think it was more a matter of growing apart than anything else. Right now I look forward to meeting people with similar interests. I recently met a fellow throughLinkedin (a professional networking website). He is involved in an MLM company and he had contacted me to see if I was interested in joining his group. I spoke with him over the phone and eventually met him at Starbucks. While I did not join his organization, he earned my respect after my speaking with him. We both have a similar passion for bettering our situations and being financially free.

While these are all small strides I am taking, I think it’s important to acknowledge that I need balance on my life. I also would like to note that while financial goals and aspirations are important, if you don’t take of yourself they are all for not.

Categories : Uncategorized Tags : , ,