Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dear Jesse: Happiness Comes From Within Yourself

“Money can’t buy you happiness.” You’ll hear this when you get older followed by, “Only rich people say that.” I can see both points of view, but don’t confuse lack of money stress to happiness.  Happiness can only come from within and no amount of money or cars or outside things will bring you joy.

I read a report once about the link between enjoyment of life and the amount of money people make. Sixty thousand dollars seems to be the dividing line. The further down from sixty you go the less happy people are with their lives. After one starts making sixty thousand the responses were more positive from the participants. As a matter of fact, the relative happiness of people didn’t change much no matter how much more than $60k they made.

Sixty thousand isn’t a magical number; it just seems  $60k is the number where most people’s basic needs are met and so the stress associated with not having enough money is much less than for people making under that level. There’s a huge difference between not stressing out about money and being happy, though.

“Only rich people say that.” If you are a miserable person (someone who is unhappy all the time…don’t worry you’ll meet a bunch in your lifetime) without money you’ll also be a miserable person with money. If you are not happy with yourself, if you don’t like yourself, nothing you buy will bring any kind of lasting joy.

There are plenty of miserable rich people out there. People who never have enough of anything, who are constantly striving for more things in their portfolio to show people because they have a void in their life they are trying to fill. There is nothing out there in the big world that will fill your void if you don’t like yourself and aren’t happy.

I’m not telling you to sit around and not strive for success. By all means…get out there and be successful! Some of the greatest people I have met are people who like themselves AND have money and success. On the other hand, people who choose to live simply, who don’t have a lot of anything, are also tremendous people. Because they like themselves and don’t feel a need to impress other people or fill a void which is already filled with love and self respect.

If you find yourself, Jesse, not feeling good about life don’t bother trying to buy things to make yourself happy. And please don’t go into debt doing it! Stop your life and look around. Why are you unhappy? Talk with people; get therapy; talk with your parents. When you figure out what’s holding back your happiness…change that thing or rid your life of that thing.

You should have a basic level of happiness and add things to your life which grow your baseline. Make $100k a year? Great! Now you can save for retirement and take care of your mom and Janet. Have a best friend you love and adore? Wonderful! Go to Europe after graduation and have a ball. Meet the love of your life, have kids and grow old together? Super!

These things should add to your happiness, not MAKE you happy. Trust me, there are people who will do all these things and still be unhappy without knowing why. And there are people who have done none of these things and still enjoy every minute of their lives.

Money can’t buy you happiness, no (it can make life a lot easier, though) because true happiness comes from within each of us. Be happy, embrace yourself and live the life you want to live.

Love, Mom

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Filed under Advice to kids, Letters to Jessie

Austin Texas 2014 Part Two

I must admit, when Janet and I went to Austin this time I fully realized everything I missed. I miss the fact it can be 80 degrees in February. I also miss the music, food, our friends and our neighborhood.  I really like what’s happening on the eastside at the moment. Not everyone will agree with me but I like the changes.

It all started with Franklin Barbeque. They moved into the hood and it drew in the barbeque lovin’ crowd. Now, the Quickie Pickie has transformed from a dark scary place into a beer lover’s mecca. A new restaurant has moved in across the street from Quickie and it was packed with people sitting outside eating and enjoying the weather.

The only reason Janet and I left the eastside this trip was because we had to go to Chuy’s, one of our favorite TexMex establishments.  Janet developed a taste for Margarita rocks, I enjoyed a burrito as big as my face and we missed Austin terribly even as we sat surrounded by its glory.

We never made it out to El Sol y La Luna, our favorite spot for migas tacos, but I indulged my need for migas at Kerbey Lane Café. I had never been there before but I will definitely go back (even though they made their migas with tortilla chips). We also stopped by Hula Hut for Margaritas (!) and tres leches cake. It tasted better than it sounds.

I’m sure we did more than eat when we visited, I just can’t think of anything. We did go for a jog along the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake but that was mainly because we needed to burn a few of those margarita and cake calories. I’m glad I’m not tracking my eating habits at the moment.

I miss parts of living in Texas but I love most of living in Seattle. Solution? We talked about keeping the house on the eastside and being snowbirds…living in Austin during the winter and the rest of the time in Seattle/Portland. Yes, we had that much fun.


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Filed under Food, Travels