Last time I wrote about my quest to get rid of 1,000 things and live a minimalist lifestyle. 2015 is the year that I’m not buying anything for myself. But I’m a strong believer that happiness can be bought.
This past weekend was a great example of this. My wife Sarah and I just took a 24 hour trip (sans kids) to Midway, UT. It’s only 45 minutes away from where we live, but it was a great way to recharge and reconnect with each other in a way that is difficult with kids. Don’t get me wrong. We love our kids more than anything. We get our greatest joy from them and love that our life centers around them. Most of the time, at least. It’s important to have some time to focus on us as a couple. That’s what this past weekend was.
Since the title of this post is how to buy happiness, I’ll tell you how much happiness cost us during this 24 hours: About $216 dollars. I’ll come back to this part of it as I explain what we spent our money on to buy happiness. But first the question: How do you buy happiness?
Happiness is bought as money is spent not on possessions, but experiences. Purchasing items can also lead to happiness if those items are thoughtful gifts to people that appreciate them.
Purchasing experiences: Think back to the past year or two. What are the memories that come to mind? For me, the first few that come to mind are:
1. the birth of our son Kenji and many of the firsts that come with a baby and our daughter Charlotte.
2. Our trip to Hong Kong to visit Sarah’s parents and return to where I lived for 2 years serving an LDS mission.
3. Going to Lake Tahoe to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary
4. A trip down to Canyonlands with Sarah’s family
5. Trips to California to visit my parents.
None of those involve purchasing items, though all involved some money, and some of them a significant amount of money. There are very few things that I’ve purchased in the past few years that have added any measure of happiness to my life (my iPhone, my new Nike running shoes, a few of my favorite pants, shirts, and blazers), but even these select few things will soon be replaced, not leaving any memories in their wake. The five memories from above will last a life time.
So, back to yesterday and Friday. How did we buy happiness? What make us happy?
Kolaches – ~$8 – A super good Czech breakfast. Apparently they’re popular in Texas and are making their way to Utah. There’s a place called Hrushka’s Kolaches in Provo, but we got these at Kolaches in Heber. Little hole in the wall place.
Sushi – ~$65 – Takashi is the best sushi place we’ve been to in Utah. The hamachi (yellowtail) is delicious. They have some really interesting rolls (Sunshine has thinly sliced lemon, and Strawberry Fields has strawberry in it) that are good, but we’re more fans of the traditional nigiri.
Custard – $5 – Nielson’s Frozen Custard. We stop here anytime we’re within 15 minutes of Nielson’s. Makes us happy every time. A concrete with raspberry and almonds is our go to.
Yoga – Free at the hotel we stayed at – Sarah’s been into yoga for a few years now, but this was my first shot at it. And I loved it. I already have been thinking that my March challenge was going to be around meditation, and this solidified it.
Tennis – $9 for 3 packs of tennis balls – We used to play more tennis BC (before Charlotte), but we played this weekend and had a lot of fun. Sarah beat me as always.
Hotel – ~$120 for one night. Deal found on Hipmunk. We stayed at the Homestead. A fine hotel, not great. We talked about staying at home to save money for the next time we do this, but we decided the hotel is important to help us detach and not feel like we needed to clean our house or be responsible.
This was a great retreat for us. We loved it. Tomorrow, I’ll write more about retreats vs. short-term travel vs. long-term travel and the importance of each.