Monday, September 27, 2010

Staying in to be happy

Spending heavily on bars and restaurants has always been more about showing society the extent of prosperity, rather than exercising real socialising. At restaurants and bars, we are artificially happy - we may care more about what others think. While at home, we have fewer diversions and immerse in real socialising.

Thanks to the financial crisis, our artificial ways to expose happiness has toned down. We have replaced our lavish spending on bars and restaurants with quality home time.

Through the crisis, we were forced to develop alternative ways to compromise on our lavish lifestyles. By becoming more budget conscious, we started avoiding big-ticket items, unless absolutely necessary; in many cases, we pushed expensive purchases. This taught us to realise that real pleasures do not have to come from large expensive indulgences, but smaller, simpler and more affordable pleasures. For instance, instead of staying on to have dessert at a restaurant, we bought it on our way back at a grocery store to be eaten at home; instead of buying a cake, we made one.

Our confidence levels are fluctuating. Although we became confident following the recession – largely reliant on the steady RBI interest rates, the recent elections and possible interest rate hikes leave us insecure. This process of fluctuating confidence has made us immunised, steadier and stronger in handling uncertainty.

Being cautious is an important part in handling uncertainty. By being cautious, we rationalise our expectations. As we rationalise our expectations, we feel more satisfied with whatever little we have. By shifting satisfaction from the result of extravagance to the result of simpler homebound indulgence, we experience real pleasure. Real pleasure comes best with the real aspects of life – friends and family. Datamonitor reports that over half of all Australians have admitted to staying in and socialising with cooked food and drinks; Australians are also drinking over three times a week with close friends at home.

By savouring moments in a more cost effective manner at home with close ones, we are experiencing real happiness.

1 comment:

Joyce said...

interesting insights you've got there. Although I'd say that even in good times big ticket items aren't the stuff that makes us truly happy. I dont think, or at least hope that, we humans are that materialistic. rather its what it represents that we chase after. Essentially we still chase after one thing and one thing only - approval from another fellow human being.

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