Espresso in the basement and happiness

1016308_10151711929980266_140520285_nOur “stuff” is still in transit from Texas. Not sure how it takes three weeks for a POD to be moved from one location to another, but I’m told it has to go into limbo for two weeks between here and there.

This has led to an interesting lesson about “stuff.” We haven’t really needed it. With our laptops, enough clothing for two weeks, a carload of our essentials, and a pot borrowed from the church kitchen, I keep finding myself secretly wishing all that stuff would just get lost along the way. I imagine the 50+ boxes (not including my 20 boxes of office books) and I wonder, “what’s in them?” I can’t even really remember. We buy food at the grocery. We wash our clothes in the communal washers. Our apartment came with a stove, fridge, even a microwave. This morning, just as I thought I couldn’t take another cup of instant coffee, I found an espresso machine that someone had abandoned as they vacated their apartment. It all just comes and goes.

As a disclaimer, we did buy a table and some chairs at IKEA the other day—but as soon as the basics were complete, I found myself completely satisfied with life again.

By coincidence, we watched the movie “Happy” the other night. It explored people from all economic walks of life and reminded me that happiness has little correlation with material possessions, and that each of us has a “baseline” level of happiness built into our brains to which we return by default after a stimulus (negative or positive) ends. At least one thing rings true for me: with a bed, table, food, and my laptop (I am a creature of this century), I did quickly return to a state of happiness pretty quickly after the chaos and anxiety of moving. Another interesting fact from the film is that there’s a significant amount of happiness gained when one’s income climbs between  $0 and $50,000, but almost no happiness gained between $50,000 and $5,000,000.

Now that I think of it, there is one item I regret taking out of my trunk and putting into the POD at the last minute, “just to make a little extra room.” My trombone. (And I have friends who’re gathering to go busking tonight in the city. Alas!)

Add that to the list of essentials and I’m done.

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