Albeit I was just having a bit of fun with the post “What to buy with €700.000“, it always draws some more “serious” reactions (online and offline). This included about “being happy in the perfect house” and “I don’t mind delaying FIRE due to my big house because I’m happy with my job”. I’m here today to tell you that happiness is a bitch. Wait, what?!
Happiness is a Bitch
First off, the definition of happiness is already a bitch, because there are many opinions and theories about it. It’s notoriously difficult to measure too, as you can do it in various ways. Note, I’m not an expect by any stretch of the imagination (nor qualified), but the summary from our friends at Wiki give some indication.
That I want to get into today is the definition under the psychology section in the above mentioned Wiki page. It states this: Happiness in its broad sense is the label for a family of pleasant emotional states, such as joy, amusement, satisfaction, gratification, euphoria, and triumph.
I guess happiness can be instigated as just a physical response too. For example by eating of drinking something you like. I personally get really happy from having a good beer in combination with a movie (no, not the new Baywatch movie). It’s that lovely Friday night feeling of amusement and satisfaction. Other things that make one happy in a very physical way: working out! The release of endorphins work miracles. Walking in the sun, bingo, vitamine D! Makes most people, including me, very happy campers.
Where it get’s more complicated is when it really becomes psychological and emotional. This is always a minefield as your state of mind changes all the time, depending if you are tired, euphoric (if you just been running/cycling), lonely, etc. It notoriously unstable-ish. What’s my point? Life!
Life can be a bitch too
Life is not always fair. There are times when things go well, and there are times you feel like you are being bulldozed over by a freight train (or was it a bulldozer?!). Some people are better at handling this then others. Some just brush if off and move on, some are scared by it for life. How you react to bad situations in your life if personal, just like finances.
Where am I going with this? You might be happy now, with your house, your job, your life. But this WILL change! Life changes constantly and nothing will continue indefinitely. You may get sick, you may get a moron of a boss, business decisions might make you lose your job, your partner might decide to successfully Tinder, you might even get hit by a bus. Something always happens.
So why am I warning you? Because it happened to me and I see it happening to many others too. For the first years of my career I was euphoric most of the times. I loved what I was doing. I had no desire to do anything else. Then company politics kicked in. I got removed from work I was doing. I had to go back to old colleagues and do different work, which I didn’t like. I want for euphoric to unhappy.
That being said, I tried many different things. Looked for (and worked at) new jobs, tried to develop myself personally, worked out more. Nothing helped. I could not get back to that level of happiness I experienced before in my career. It was frustrating like hell. So I quit. Still don’t know what I’m going to do (next) when I grow up. Besides have a beer in about 10,5 months.
Let’s get ack to buying an expensive house (or castle) because you think it makes you happy. I did it (honestly, Mrs CF was not convinced)! The first house we bought together was massive (for Dutch understandings anyways). Over 280m2 (3.100sft) of living space. We had 3,5 bathrooms, 4 bedrooms, a bonus room, rec room with pool table and 3m diameter home cinema, big kitchen, walk-in closets. It was awesome!
But after living there for 5 years, I had to come to the conclusion that it was not making either of us happy. It was great to live there, but it was NOT making us happy. It was a very fancy roof over our heads. A very expensive roof too!
The various housing expenses could have helped us become financially free & independent a lot sooner. Being financially free is an emotional state that is almost guaranteed to make you happy. Because it give you something that really helps these fluctuating emotions: no stress and the choice to do what you like.
Still like your job, definitely continue to the point where you don’t. Want to buy that bigger house, go for it! But don’t expect it to make you happy, you need different things for that. Expect it to make you life more comfortable.
Moral of the Story
The moral of this story? Happiness is a bitch! Life can be a Bitch. Be flexible in your life find out what actually makes you happy! Try new things and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. But once you do find out that something is not making you happy, act!