Until today I thought you couldn't buy happiness. I have had to modify that idea but I still believe, usually, money can't buy happiness.
Over the past two days I have sorted out some paperwork I have been holding onto for years. At last I have disposed of old study notes and some reports and letters that have no place in my current life. I also decided to part with a few items including a china bowl I never use. It is a pretty bowl but my tastes have changed.
I wanted to treat myself to coffee and cake to celebrate having made some difficult decisions. My plan was to take some items to an op shop, post a card and go out for that coffee. I had to take the items into the op shop because the bowl would break if I popped it into the donations bin in the car park.
The assistant behind the counter thanked me for the bowl and I had a quick look around. I had decided I could buy one special item as I had just parted with several.
Then I saw it sitting on the shelf and I had to buy it. Happiness for only $2.
My purchase led to a discussion with the shop assistant about how you can buy happiness after all, and at a bargain price. We then talked about people with large amounts of money who have not been made happy by their wealth.
Many people figure a million or two, or perhaps even more would solve all their problems and make them happy. Sometimes a windfall or large inheritance does initially increase a person's level of happiness.It soon drops back to its usual level or set point of happiness. This is a normal occurrence. It happens with other events that cause an initial peak in happiness such as a promotion or moving into that dream home.
A person's level of happiness may take a nose dive once the initial thrill of wealth is past. There are new worries, pressures and stresses.
Money can damage relationships. Are these companions really true friends or are they after my money? Should I give some of my money to family? Which family members? How will those who miss out react?
Should I invest some money? What should I invest in? Perhaps I should get a financial adviser, but who do I trust?
Do I have enough security or could someone break in and steal my expensive belongings? What's the best form of security? How much insurance do I need?
Should I donate to charity? The questions are never ending.
Some people come into a lot of money but end up bankrupt down the track. Money can lead to disputes and bad feeling. I have even read of a large win leading to tragedy. A father bought his son, who had recently got his driver's licence, an expensive sports car. The son crashed the car at high speed and died.
Coming into money would mean many of the little treats I enjoy so much now wouldn't mean anything. A simple cappuccino in a cafe wouldn't be special if I had the money to eat out at fancy restaurants on a regular basis. I wouldn't get a buzz from making a purchase in an op shop. I probably wouldn't be in an op shop in the first place, the way I was today. Today I was able to buy happiness.