Money doesn’t buy happiness. Surely this is one of the biggest cliché’s around, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would contradict it outright. Despite this consumerism is at its highest, and more and more non essential things are being sold with the idea that they will imbue happiness in whoever purchases them. In the last couple of months I have come across situations that have really highlighted for me where happiness can come from. What initially got me thinking was when my American friend Ben and I started playing a hypothetical game where we would say how much we would pay for certain moments that had occurred. I for example would have payed roughly $100 for the moment where I flicked a paper football into a cup just after I had said “okay guys, just one more flick and then we can go” and Ben would have payed about $60 for a goal that he fired in from fifteen metres out when playing five a side soccer. Putting a monetary value on moments of happiness is inherently floored, but it is interesting to think about.
Last Wednesday as I was walking home after a class I saw a girl who for some reason I just knew would be really kind, pleasant and friendly. She was walking the same way as I was so I asked her how her day was going and we talked all the way back to my place where we said goodbye and parted ways. She was an American exchange student studying education, had also recently been to Israel and was just as I had suspected incredibly friendly and nice. It was probably one of the nicest walks I have ever had. Now if I was to put a value on that moment I would probably pay between $700 to $1200 for it. Obviously if I saw it for sale on a shelf I wouldn’t purchase it because my bank balance does not stretch that far, I’d probably have to go for a cheaper version perhaps where the person wasn’t quite as friendly, had an annoyingly slow gate or was one of those people who tends to bump into you a lot when you walk next to them. This walk was awesome and much more enjoyable than an ipod or t-shirt with the word ‘billabong’ on it, and was much cheaper. So not only is gaining happiness from non material things more enjoyable, it is also much cheaper.