Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Buy more, be less happy

While listening to the radio this morning, a woman was talking about a variety of studies that show the more consumer-oriented a person is, the less happy the person becomes. The perfect example is tweens and young teens. Almost all their self worth is tied up in what they wear and if they have the latest iPhone app. But America itself is no longer an uber-happy place to be. We rank as one of the least happy countries in the world. Now that's depressing.

You may be asking why. Part of the reason is we, as a society, work longer hours than we have in decades. We spend time "socializing" via the Internet or sitting in a room watching TV - maybe with a bag of chips for company.

We've forgotten how to be with people. We've forgotten how to connect and enjoy everything from the arts to a walk with a dear friend. Life doesn't have to be expensive to be rich. I've been reading my daughter the Little House on the Prairie series; in one of the books the whole town participates in Literaries. The town laughs together, enjoying the comradery of snowy evenings. I live in a lovely community that plans lots of activities, but I'm nowhere near that connected to my neighbors. And that's a shame.

When was the last time you spent a day - OK, an hour - with someone just for the fun of it? I plan to change that right now.

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