What is Happiness to you?

Welcome to Thought Experiment #7.

At the beginning of each second month, a thought experiment question will be tweeted under the hashtag #ThoughtExperiment and everyone is invited to participate with their own posts, these will then go live together on the 15th of the next month (you can still join in after this date). Below is the question asked for this Thought Experiment.

Most people’s lives are filled with so much commotion. We’re constantly moving and thinking like an electron jumping from atom to atom. There are very few moments when we experience true clarity, when we have a chance to really think clearly. These moments may come when reaching a mountain peak in the early hours of the morning or when you’re sitting up late one night and silently staring at the stars. Lots of life-changing decisions can be made in these moments; when you have the time to think about true happiness.

So, for this Thought Experiment, I’d like you to create one of these moments for yourself. I’d like you to think, and I mean really think about what you want and need to make yourself and your family happy.

What do you need to achieve real, true happiness? What are you aspiring to? Paint that perfect picture, you will need it as a guide whilst you make your way through life.

As always tweet @SavingNinja if you have participated and I’ll add your post to the list below!

Thought Experiment #7

SavingNinja

Indeedably

Caveman @ Ditch The Cave

Merely Curious

Left FI

Othalafehu

Fretful Finance

Pennies For Cents


I slide my sleek glass doors open wide and walk out onto my wooden veranda into the blissful, fresh mountain air. Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath in through my nose. I can smell pine mixed with the roasted coffee that I’d just brewed, it smells good.

I can hear absolutely nothing, everything is tranquil. Opening my eyes, I see the beautiful site of trees and mountain peaks. Nothing but nature for miles around.

I feel…calm. Anxiety; nothing but a distant memory. The constant tension in my head; gone. 

There’s simply nothing to worry about anymore. Everything that I’ll ever need is here in my mountain home. A space for reading, an area for music, cooking and relaxing, a workshop for building.

I even have a high-speed internet connection for when I need to plug back into the rest of the world. The joy though, is that I can pull that plug straight back out whenever I want, I can fully disconnect, have the room to…breath.

I have enough money to last me 1000 years, this is what allows me this luxurious life of solitude. A detached way of living where connecting is a choice, not a necessity.


This is a scenario that most people would lust after. A mountain home with scenic views, access to a library, and blissful peace and quiet – I know I have! 

It’s the perfect place to unwind and relax. But only when I started thinking about this Thought Experiment did I realise that happiness for me is not about a specific place, it’s about the conditions.

I thought, ‘What do I want to be happy? Do I want a pool? Maybe a lake? Do I want to be in Switzerland or California?’

Only after begrudgingly picking a scenario and beginning to write about it did I realise that I could swap any physical landscape or condition out with an entirely different one, they just needed to have one thing in common: be a place of solitude where I can disconnect.

This trait can be emulated anywhere in the world. I will be content as long as enough private land is owned to satisfy my family’s desires and we have the ability to reconnect to the world only when we choose.

This discovery is shocking to me. I always believed that my dreams lay in travel and far away lands. My wanderlust consumed me, to the point that I refused to think that happiness could be achieved elsewhere.

Coming from the ideology that I need to travel to a specific location (notably the USA) to finding out that all I really need is the ability to disconnect and not engage in forced interaction, whilst having enough space (and money) to keep me comfortable and occupied is almost…refreshing. 

The dream is more achievable as the whole world is now an avenue which I can venture down to find true happiness. All I needed were the core ingredients.

The Who, the What, and the Why

Why do I feel like this? Why do I crave solitude and quiet over all else?

I could blame it on my social anxiety, or the irritation I feel against certain individuals or scenarios in public. I could even blame it on the fact that I grew up in the city, never experiencing the space and adventure that a country life can give. 

Am I fed up of the chaos?

These would be valid explanations, but it wouldn’t explain why my wife (weird to say that!) feels the same way as me, craving escape to a peaceful retreat. Most Devonshire folk of our age move towards the bigger cities in the hopes of having more of a social life.

This brings me to the idea that maybe we want this way of life because of each other? Since we met 8 years ago, we’ve barely spent more than a few days apart. We’ve simply always enjoyed our own company more than the traditional socialising that most 20-somethings partake in.

So, putting it mushily – although relevant as I am writing this from a log cabin during my honeymoon! – maybe we desire a life of solitude because we’ve found a soulmate in each other?

We’ve simply found a person who we’re happy to interact with forever, so we can cut out the negative interactions and run away to the mountains to live our lives stress free?

I know, of course, that life isn’t really that simple. Humans are emotional beings whose needs and wants change all of the time, but I think I’m right with my current theory. I certainly wouldn’t desire the same life that I’ve depicted in this post if I was alone.

To be Continued…

Alas, I have to stop! I’ve written the majority of this whilst road tripping through California on my honeymoon, I arrogantly thought I’d have loaaads of time to write this post whilst away, but I’ve just been having too much fun.

It’s now 8pm on the 13th of August in Sequoia National Park (4am on the 14th of August for you guys in England!) and I’ve ran out of time. BUT I really don’t want to cut this post short as I’ve got so much more that I want to write about, so I’ve shoved a ‘to be continued’ on the end as I will definitely be coming back to it.

I’ve also missed the latest monthly report, however, don’t threat as I did get a chance to tally up my total investments on the 1st of August, so you’ll have two updates to look forward to when I get back 🙂

See you guys soon!

OddsMonkey

8 thoughts on “What is Happiness to you?

  1. Love the point about happiness not being a physical place but a mental place of disconnection. I agree — though I find that a water view helps me disconnect:) Seriously, I do find that I can set up my environment to help the solitude — clutter-free, lots of light, water view, quiet. We live in NYC currently and will be spending more and more time out of the city now that our kids are both out of school. While you can disconnect in NYC, it takes a lot of bandwidth to do so, and a lot of money if you try to improve your environment to do it. Now that we’re untethered to the school calendar, we are choosing places and activities where it’s easy to disconnect — for us, it’s closer to water and slower pace of life, hence Costa Rica.

    1. Hi Caroline, yeah, water does it for me too. I was picturing a lake house but then ended up going with a mountain home. I can imagine that NYC is very difficult to disconnect D: I’ve been there a couple of times and the noisy firetrucks with their honking are enough to send you around the bend!

      Costa Rica looks awesome (I just Googled), I’ll have to add that to my to-visit list. What article of yours would you recommend to read up on Costa Rica? 😮

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