Wednesday, 2 May 2007

What price happiness?

Observation 1: I have a mug in the study that accumulates small change, 'schrapnel', that is more of a nuisance than anything to carry around.

Observation 2: Money can't buy happiness. You may argue with me on that one but after doing the literature review for my thesis I can back it up with references. I'm talking serious money here - pay increases, even lottery wins, are consistently found to give only transitory happiness.

Observation 3: But a little money can buy a disproportionate amount of happiness. Especially for a child.

Looking on the Australian Kindness Movement website I was taken with the idea of dropping a few small coins in children's playgrounds.

What a lovely idea.


  1. Unfortunately, in this country, if you went around dropping coins in children's playgrounds you would soon be arrested as a paedophile, such is the hysteria.
    Local kids loved standing around my open garage doors watching me working - these days I keep them shut so they do not gather - it is so tragic - youngsters have always learnt from older people, who are now hesitant about contact.

  2. P.S
    On a lighter note, Spike Milligan maintained that money may not buy happiness, but it ensures a better class of misery.

  3. I jhave found that usually, the ones who adamnantly stick to the money can't buy happiness...
    almost always have enough money to actually "buy" happiness.

    The question would be, and pardon my presumption here, what IS happiness?
    To meet one's obligations without being late on payment....
    To be able to slip into a favored restaraunt for dinner instead of making same....
    To be able to gas up the car without begging someone else for the money to do so....

    These would be minor happinesses. Money does indeed buy these things...well...Except for that last one, which I fear may just claim more than its share of borrowers for while gas prices are up. (hey, it doesn't make any more sense coming out of my head yjan I just said here.I reckon it's just another way to say gas prices suck.)
    The pursuit of money has been an agonizing trip, to be sure. One I am definately tired of doing at all.
    I just want to paint, though, so, I'm spoiled. Without money, but having paints, I am happy.

  4. I often contemplate a better class of misery....
    I might try the coin thing at the playground. You could do it casually, & not linger to see who found what, thus avoiding the pedophile tag.

  5. Having been on both sides of the coin, so to speak... having been in situations where we lived paycheck to paycheck, rolling coins to buy a gallong of gas, eating potatoes or pasta for a week until payday... and then suddenly having a rather large inheritence dropped in our laps, I can honestly say, money truly does not buy happiness. It buys the momentary fun.... but not lingering happiness. In fact, I had more stress than ever when we suddenly got the money, like a lottery. Constant stress worrying about how to spend every penny and worrying that we'd make the wrong choices and lose it all and have nothing to show for it.. or regrets later (and that's exactly what we did too...spent it all wrong and had nothing to show for it later). We had a fabulous little BMW convertable "James Bond" car.. a lot of fun, and we miss it in the really nice weather when we could be taking drives through the country with the top down, sun on us and wind in our hair, but the fun wasn't true happiness, it was just "fun". No doubt, it is always better to have enough to pay the bills, keep the utilities turned on, a roof over our heads and good healthy food on the table, but the true happiness isn't going to come from having enough extra dough to buy expensive vacations, country club memberships, brand new sports cars, high end clothes... the true happiness comes from spending time doing things you love to do with people you love to spend your time with.

    (I like the coins on the playground idea too...I just might do that sometime)

  6. Susan's right, Avus. You don't stand there throwing coins like you are feeding seagulls; you drop them surreptitiously, say when you are out for a walk in the evening and the playground is empty.

  7. As the bumper sticker said --
    " As you go through life , remember , Happiness can't buy money !" I think I agree about money buying you a better class of misery HaHa
    I agree also , the current climate makes older people -- men especially , hesitant to make any contact with children which is a great pity . The coin scattering idea sounds rather nice .

  8. Money can't buy happiness, yes, but extra money will add a little joy to a sad life.

  9. money doesn't buy happiness, but I'm sure glad I'm no longer in the space where I had to balance my payments against each other. That was a lot of stress I'm happy is no longer in my life. On the other hand, statistically - at least in the US - it does buy health. STUFF doesn't create happiness, that's certain.

  10. how interesting we both wrote on happiness - it seems like it IS contagious!!!! I did manage to find a couple of rare coins on the playground... always a pleasure when you drop in.

  11. Happiness is an elusive creature, that's for certain. Money can stun it for some time while you revel in a temporary delusion of possession, but I think at some point it's bound to gather its wits and flitter off. Paint, though, I'm with boneman on that. Money can certainly buy that, and what a thrill it is. But nothing beats an unexpected coin you can take to the store for a paper bag full of candy. (Though of course a coin went a much longer way towards filling a bag when I was still in the habit of playing in sandboxes. Now I don't know what it could buy. The bag, maybe.)


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