Finding pleasure

What makes you happy? New shoes? Going to the cinema? Champagne? A walk in the park? Diamonds?

It’s different for everyone, and it changes as we get older. These days I get much more pleasure out of ‘doing’ rather than ‘possessing’. Experiences with my friends and family give me much longer-lasting pleasure than I ever get from ‘stuff’. And being creative -making, growing or cooking – makes me incredibly happy. Of course, there are things that I own that I love and wouldn’t want to be without: my knitting needles and crochet hooks; my laptop (old by current standards); my work light; my new varifocal glasses; my mp3 player (ancient by current standards!) for playing audiobooks… But I don’t want to replace them. Newer versions would not make me happier.

Judging by what we see presented in the media I am the exception. You only need to think of the queues that form when a new i-phone is about to hit the shops to realise that this sort of thing really means something to lots of people. I do wonder, however, how long the joy lasts. Is there a constant desire to have the latest/newest/shiniest/most fashionable ‘thing’? So that as soon as they own the new thing, they are thinking about its future replacement. And there is plenty evidence (here for example) that materialism does not make you happy.

So, this weekend, when I had two days to do as I pleased,with no one else to think about (Mr Snail was away helping my sister dismantle a shed) I didn’t rush off to the shops, I painted the hallway, I planted potatoes (in pots in the limery) and me and the pups did lots of this:

The only thing missing from the pictures is the tea and biscuits!

I do need to do some shopping soon, but that’s for seeds… which you only own for a short time before they magically transform into something else!!


Leave a comment


  1. Ann Pole

     /  November 23, 2015

    What makes me happy? Snuggling with Steve, making things, research for my diploma (when I get chance!) reading, sewing, bit more snuggling… maybe I should stop at that point… 😉

  2. What has made me happy today? Going in the workshop and turning some Christmas presents on the lathe (something I am just learning to use so they are not super exciting but will, I hope, be useful and were made with love), walking my dogs and meeting a neighbour I only know a little but who stopped to chat, taking a flask of coffee and some cake to other neighbours who are cleaning their house before new tennants move in (they moved into a caravan to be with their sheep a couple of miles away), making more cake to replace what we ate, ….. Nothing earth shattering but full of connectedness and skills I enjoy.

  3. It varies day by day. What made me happy yesterday was being pain free long enough to dig a couple of post holes for Chookonia till the sun got too hot, then climbing up a ladder and starting the long and tedious process of clearing the gutters on the patio roof. I don’t believe the house’s previous owners ever did it; it’s not just dead leaves up there, it’s several inches of rather nice *soil* with small acacia trees growing in it. And then I cleaned out the pond and pump in Frogtopia, so that’s looking and smelling a lot nicer and the waterfall is running again, so there was an enthusiastic frog chorus for us to enjoy last night. Yes, that was a good day for doing…

  4. A timely question indeed! Putting up my Christmas Giveaway just made me extremely happy – just because it has been so well received and the nominations are coming in. I love that people will play along with me and think a little altruistically! 🙂

    I think people don’t realise they have options in this cleverly contrived consumeristic society of ours. It takes life experience and a willingness to learn one’s lessons and to take responsibility for one’s own happiness for the understanding of ‘I am enough’ to take root and grow. It is only when we know ourselves to be okay, to be safe, to be loved, that we can begin to let go of the egoistic need to collect stuff to assure ourselves we are real.

    Kindness goes such a long way to helping that understanding take root.

  5. nettyg

     /  November 23, 2015

    The simple things make me happy….sewing and knitting, getting into the garden, getting the lawn mown before the rain hits, even when I’m already tired and ready to stop, walking my dog and enjoying the pleasure she has in greeting all her favourite people along the way, and seeing their pleasure in her. This week though, I’m especially happy because my neighbour is away…..this is my neighbour who sits and smokes at least 16 hours of the day, and all that smoke comes into my house and yard and makes me extremely ill…..which is why I’ve sold my house and am moving. But this week, I’m well, no coughing or chest pains, no constant headache or irritated eyes, or burning skin……I am SO happy……..transient I know, since she’ll be back, but I know now I’m going to feel this good again all the time when I move!

  6. Today I am taking a friend to have a medical procedure. There will be a couple of hours between dropping her off and picking her up. She suggested I go to the local BIG shopping centre. I could not think of anywhere I would less like to go!😳 I get overwhelmed by all that stuff. But your weekend sounded like bliss, although my painting would not have been the hall but on paper and with smaller brushes!

  7. By and large I don’t like the latest thing, especially technology. Laptop at least 8 years old and phone at least 4 years old. Clothes worn till beyond mending. I am the ad mans nightmare!

  8. You’ve found your audience, Jan! This crowd is here, reading you, because we appreciate the philosophy you present and either live it or aspire to. Having said all that, I did go out yesterday to buy a fancy new laptop to replace the 8-year-old. It simply couldn’t be avoided any longer!

    • I do sympathise… my laptop is coming to the end of it’s life. I thought I was going to have to replace it about six months ago, but I managed, through changing some software, to keep it going a while longer.

  9. Happiness is something that many are wondering about these days. Volumes are being written about the art of happiness. Things can make your life easier or harder but moments of sheer delight at the simple things in life all mentioned about by your tribe are the basis of happiness. I always say that those moments come and go as life is in flow. But contentment is where I reside. It allows change but lives in the moment. I’ve had my eyes glaze over at the sight of some new thing that would make my life so much easier in theory. Then I take a deep breath and walk away to realize that I am perfectly content without it. Happy was when my son managed to resurrect 40+ year old slides to a digital image of my daughter brand new. I thought those photos were going to always just be locked in my mind and never seen again. I had a lovely trip down memory lane as I told him the stories behind many of the photos that he has once again brought to life. More than that, Spending time with my grown children, family and friends are the root of happiness for me. I enjoy seeing what’s new but and very content with what is. You’ve created quite a conversation here, Ms Snail. You have a good heart and it shows.

  10. For me, happiness comes from using things I already have, or finding a way to repurpose something. I do get a certain joy out of new yarn or fabric finding its way into my home though. Like seeds, they magically transform into other things too.


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