Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Happy List

Some book I read once suggested making a list of 100 things that made me happy and then making sure I had enough of those things in my life (and when I find that book again, I will credit the author). I did this a couple of years ago just for fun. I was surprised how difficult it was to actually name 100 things.

I included time with my favourite people, activities I enjoy, places, possessions, animals, colours and textures, anything I could come up with. For a while I busied myself trying to make sure I included some of those things in my life – reading good books, planning the next Mediterranean holiday, smelling flowers and petting animals I passed on the street. Then, being frugally minded, I took at look at the costs associated with the items on my ‘Happy List’, putting an 'x' by items that cost a little and 3 x's by the most expensive.

I found that having an enjoyable run (somewhat serendipitous, but more often associated with being fit, or at least with pacing myself properly), finding new combinations in which to wear the clothes and jewelry I own, dinner by candlelight (and 51 other items) were all pretty much free of charge. Fresh, juicy fruit, having dinner parties and long hot showers (and 18 other things, including a long list of shockingly sinful foods) weren’t particularly dear. At the more pricey end, things like sunshine and alcohol are best enjoyed in moderation anyhow and if one lived in Greece or France it would soon become commonplace, which would be infinitely sad.

This was really valuable information for me when considering whether I could afford to 'retire' early. I left work knowing that I was still going to have a very high quality of life full of things that give me great pleasure.

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