Last weekend our Happier calendar read the following: “You can build a happy life only on the foundation of your own nature, your own interests, your own values. Your happy life will look very different from the happy life of someone else.”
This is very true, and yet so easy to forget.
When I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo (because seriously, at this point, who hasn’t read it?), I discovered the same thing. So much of our happiness is tied into who WE are as unique individuals. My happiness has absolutely zero percent to do with yours or anyone else’s happiness. What makes me happy probably won’t make you happy, and that’s okay! Reading that book helped me dig deeper into what my “ideal life” looked like, how it felt, and what it meant to me.
Why, for example, am I drawn to an aesthetic best described as modern rustic? On the surface, it’s warm, cozy yet simple, and created with natural elements. But why?
I dug into it. If I could create my ideal home life, it would involve a light-filled, airy cabin in a wooded, mountainous area. That setting is important to me because I love the peace I feel when surrounded by nature. But I don’t want to feel like I’m locked or stuck anywhere, hence the airiness of the cabin. Think large windows showcasing the view and lofted ceilings with exposed beams.
I would have a living room complete with a grand piano, built-in bookshelves, and a fireplace. The piano is, of course, because music is so important to me. If I could afford a beautiful grand piano of my own, that would mean I’m financially stable enough to spend that sort of money. I’m not materialistic and I don’t need much money, but knowing I could purchase a piano (in my ideal life) and still live comfortably would be a source of happiness and peace. The bookshelves would hold books (because I love to read) as well as photos and treasures from travels. I think it’s important to surround oneself with happy memories and continue to expand your mind. The fireplace would encourage the coziness and relaxation at home. I grew up in a very chaotic house and have intentionally made sure my living space as an adult has always been peaceful, zen, and cozy.
My kitchen would have windows and shelves to grow herbs. I love creating food with fresh ingredients. The bathtub would have an old claw-foot tub to soak and relax in. The bed would be covered in a quilt made by my grandmother, with matching nightstands and reading lamps for symmetry. Outside I’d have a garden and grow enough vegetables for us to eat and preserve. We would have a few chickens for eggs and bees to pollinate. And those expansive mountain views would surround it all…no nearby neighbors.
This probably isn’t your idea of a happy life. Maybe a vacation, or a long weekend. Or maybe this sounds great to you. The point is, it sounds great TO ME, and happiness comes from within. So, while the walls in which I sit don’t look like this, how can I do my best to create this happy life?
I’m bundled in a blanket given to me by one of my grandmothers. My digital piano sits across the room. My cat’s purring stands in as the background noise instead of the crackle of a fireplace. Travis sits next to me, reading a book, and my stack of library books is on the table in front of me. We can afford the piano (it was a gift from a former employer) and the books (thank you, libraries everywhere!!) without any impact whatsoever on our financial well-being. There’s no need for us to worry about having enough of what we NEED in order to enjoy some of these wants.
It’s not perfect, but when I think about the details, I really have it pretty good. There will always be room for improvement as I work toward my ideal, but I’m very goal-oriented, and I like having it that way. I don’t expect to have my dream happy ideal home anytime soon, but I can stay on the path toward creating it.
What’s your happy home life? What would it look like?