The Happiness Quotient


One time I was visiting a friend in Georgia USA and we had gone to get some groceries. I came out of the store beaming from ear to ear carrying a huge bunch of organic kale. I was in heaven! I had just been in another country for a few months where organic kale was hard to find and when you did find it, it was at least four times the price I had just paid! My friend laughed and said “ Wow, you are so easy to please!’ Yes, it’s easy to be happy when your inner well of happiness is already bubbling over. What if that inner well is close to empty, what then? Can outside factors influence it? In my own experience, while all the wonderful moments you have the opportunity to meet may temporarily improve a situation, that happiness may be fleeting or even non-existent.
One of my most expensive and meaningful lessons happened in my twenties. I was in a very unhappy relationship and went away for a weekend with my partner at that time (soon to be ex) and another couple. On the surface it should have been an idyllic weekend, staying in a five star hotel, having exquisite meals, drinking wine that cost a small fortune. That weekend I spent the equivalent of a month’s salary. While it may have seemed unwise to fritter away that much money in a weekend, it was the best money I have ever spent. It showed me that no matter how lovely the outside circumstances are, they do not make you happy. Happiness really comes from within.
The meals that should have been amazing were only ‘okay’. The four hundred dollar bottle of wine, (still a fortune to me now, never mind 1977!) may as well have been inexpensive everyday plonk. I didn’t really notice how awesome it was as I was grappling with my inner discontent. I guess I needed to spend that crazy amount of money to learn a lesson that is priceless.
Several years later I had evolved and that toxic relationship was long behind me. I could be my authentic self and my outside life reflected my inner happiness. I didn’t need things to make me happy, I was happy and the positive moments in my outer life enhanced my inner happiness. One of my most treasured memories is sitting on a hillside in the Dordogne in France with my husband, eating a baguette and cheese, sipping on a bottle of wine that was four francs. It was exquisite because I had found my own brand of exquisite. It is something that is in each and every one of us that no money can buy. If you haven’t already done so, are you ready to embrace your own brand of awesome? Cheers!
And the reason for the photo accompanying this post? My photos of that French vacation are in some box somewhere so I went online to find a photo of my beloved Dordogne. Instead of a view of the countryside I found this one and I adore donkeys!  Thanks to Erwan Hesry for sharing your photos on Unsplash. You and the donkeys have made my day so much more enjoyable!