Where Logic Meets Love

Investing in Daily Happiness

Thursday, December 30, 2010

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Investing in Daily Happiness | Faith Permeating Life
This end-of-the-year post was supposed to be about the happiness project I'm starting in 2011, but since my computer's in the shop for who knows how long and I'm working off my iPad, my ability to map out a comprehensive plan and create my Resolutions Chart is a bit limited at the moment. So I'll talk about something else instead.

A while back I wrote about a job opportunity I was being pushed toward that wasn't the kind of work I wanted to do. I told my boss I'd rather keep doing the work I was doing than get paid more money to do something else.

Well, I guess she finally understood both my love of the work (from that conversation) and the value it brought to the college (when she heard people in other departments talking about my work) because she submitted a request to HR for a title and salary change for me. It's not official yet, but basically I get to keep doing the work I've been doing for the past few months, except have it actually be my job, and get compensated accordingly.

This whole experience really brought home for me why it's so much more important to be doing work you enjoy than to be continually striving for a higher position and more money. When I first heard about my (for lack of a better word) promotion, I was excited and told Mike and my family about it. But the excitement quickly wore off once I got used to the idea. The real joy comes from doing work I love every day. I've already been doing this work for a while, and I get up every day looking forward to going to work. My title and my salary can't provide me with that kind of daily contentment and satisfaction. I think there's so much more happiness to be gained from spending eight hours a day enjoying your work than striving for those periodic bursts from a promotion.

Another note: I was reminded of how lucky I am to have a husband who shares my financial goals and philosophy. The truth is, we have a modest budget right now, but we've been living fairly comfortably and happily. Assuming all goes well on HR's end, I'm going to get a pretty substantial raise. As I've said before, and as Mike said to me the other day, a lot of people would mentally adjust their standard of living and say, "Oh, now we'll be able to _____________." But we don't plan to do that. Our only new expenses will be Mike's student loan payments that start next month.

What this means is that that extra money is going to go into savings. And that means that when we talk about wanting to buy 20 acres of land and build our own house in the next 10-15 years, that's a reasonable goal. When we talk about adopting kids (some or maybe all -- but that's another post), we know that's expensive, but we know that's important to us. And it makes a lot more sense to put that money toward our long-term goals than to increase our budget for eating out.

In some ways, it's the same idea as what I said above about work. We have a goal in mind of what we want our day-to-day life to be like in the future, and so it makes more sense to invest in a satisfied daily life than to invest in short bursts of happiness from new purchases or nights out.

We're happy now, and we're laying the foundation to be happy in the future. What more could you want?

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