On Happiness….

Whilst in hospital (which went well), I had a lot of time to think about stuff which is always a good thing in my opinion.  I had time to relax (a little), and time to think about the path ahead.  In this post, I am going to attempt to describe some of my thoughts in some kind of cohesive way.

All sorts of emotions arose which are part of the normal human condition.  Things like; fear, anxiety, uncertainty, disorientated, agony, relief, elation, and happiness.  Note that I put the emotions in a specific order which are actually in order of occurrence. 

Friday, I was fearful because I did not know what the outcome was going to be.  When I was waiting on the bed in pre-op, I was full of anxiety until I talked to my surgeon who helped alleviate some of my fears and angst.  A few minutes before I was rolled into the theatre, I thought, ‘What if they don’t find anything and it is all in my imagination?’.  This was uncertainty kicking in.

A couple of hours later I work up and for a second or two, I had no idea where I was and what just happened.  I can’t remember much at all for the next few hours.  Disorientation.

Then the local anaesthetic wore off.  Agony is the only way that I can describe it, but I knew that it was all going to get better from here on in.

From here on in, only positive emotions came my way.  Relief with the first visit to the toilet to check on the boys and that it all worked.  Elation that the operation had been a success and that the surgeon had found a significant protrusion which proved that I wasn’t imagining it all.  And finally happiness, which was for a good many reasons.

Happy because I was well on the other side of the operation.  Happy because all of the nurses were fantastic and had hearts of gold. Happy because I knew that I was loved, and was missed.  Happy because I was in safe hands.  But most of all, I was happy because I took the time to reflect back upon the last few years of my journey and I realised how much I had changed for the better, and how much happier I am now compared to the days of old.

Relationships are fuller. Family bonds are stronger.  I have a sense of purpose and strong life goals, etc, etc, etc….

Then I realised that if I asked anyone around me what they really want, then the answer would to be happy.  Now, because happiness is a main driver in every humans life, we should be able to measure it, right?  We can measure economic growth, and resource consumption with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and various other market driven mechanisms, so why are we not measuring happiness?  Case in point is that we here on the radio and TV every day how many people died in that day, the multitude of disasters that occurred to humanity in the last 24 hours, what the latest stock market index is, or what the dollar is trading at in relation to other world currencies.  All these statistics and indices, but you don’t hear about how happy people were that day. It just does not seem right to me.

If we all strive for happiness in our lives, why would we not want to know the local, national or even the global Happiness Index is?  I know I would want to know, because if it was low you would want to improve upon it.  Well it just happens that there is one country in the world who does indeed base its decisions based on the happiness of its citizens.  That country is Bhutan.  Here is a video about what occurred in Bhutan.

So the king decided the hand over the power to the people.  Nice and it obviously made them very happy. 

Now some of you may think that the people in Bhutan may not know what they are missing?  Well, who really cares.  Does any of the material crap that we have in our western style lives really make us happy?  I don’t think so.  How does the new iPhone feel in your hand compared to say, a hug from a loved one and being told that you are loved?  How does paying the astronomical mortgage that new McMansion feel like compared to say, having the comfort of a modest home and minimal mortgage (or none at all) with enough land to grown your own food, make your own electricity, and have bugger all in the way of outgoing expenses? Do emotions such as greed, envy, and jealousy really even compare to giving, love and happiness?

Well, in my opinion, there is no comparison at all.  The old adage, ‘Money can’t buy you love’ can be extended to ‘Money can’t buy you love and happiness’ even though modern societal values and marketing practices are based upon consumption which is driven by money.  I am not saying the money is bad, some is necessary to survive, up to a point.  Once the lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are met which do cost some money, the rest of the levels like Love & Belonging, Esteem, Experience purpose and meaning, and self actualisation don’t cost anything at all.  Notice that this is a hierarchy of needs, not wants!  Nowhere does it mention a flash car, house or job to make you happy.

Maslow’s hierarchy of need

So where is this post leading?  Well, nowhere further really, just the realisation that even though I am in some pain at the moment, I am happy. Very happy indeed, and it took an epiphany and a change in lifestyle to achieve it.

Please, take the time to reflect on your own happiness, and let me know if you believe that happiness is your main driver in life?


  1. says

    Just catching up on some of your posts Gavin. You’ve been making cheese so things things must be looking good. I hope you continue to have a speedy recovery from the op.
    Great post. I think I’m happier now than I ever have been, and less is certainly more for me, (although I still need the odd reminder.)

  2. says

    Cheers everyone for the well wishes. Recovering well and still happy as larry!

    Gav x

    p.s. @ JulieG, got a copy of the doco, will watch it tomorrow!

  3. JulieG says

    Feel better soon, Gav!

    I reckon one of the best-kept secrets about going green is that it really adds to your happiness.

  4. says

    Firstly Gavin I want to wish you a speedy recovery, and secondly I want to thank you for this fantastic post, word for thought…

  5. says

    Did you ever watch East of Everything? He was writing a book called Gross National Happiness… I loved that show.

    Happiness is a funny thing… so easy for it to slip through your fingers when you are not watching.

    I think the king of Bhutan should have kept the reign because politicians will stuff it up!

  6. Anonymous says

    Happy recouperating Gavin!
    Sometimes I find my happiness is governed by other people and they are not always co operative. You are VERY lucky your family supports your green epithany. At times I feel like I’m on another planet from my partner whose happiness means cars cars cars :(

  7. says

    So glad the op went well and you are back on the road to recovery by the sounds of things. It your emotional state is anything to go by, you will be jumping about kicking your heals together in the air in no time.
    What a great post to read at the end of a lovely weekend. No extravagant purchases were made. No expensive dinners out. No hours spent in the car ferrying over-committed children from one function to another. Instead we had family bike rides, DVD nights and home cooked and shared meals.
    I’m happy too.

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