The Cost of Happiness
I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out how much happiness costs (Both monetarily and figuratively). I don’t think I’ve found the exact answer, but I’m hoping this’ll serve as a good guide to finding it.
Happy Happiness Day! Is that a thing? International Happiness Day was on 20th March and for me, I felt the same as any other day… Happy
Except this time, I wanted to genuinely figure it out — What drives my happiness? How much does it cost? Can I pay a certain amount to get it? Can I work a certain number of hours, give back a certain amount to the community or even laze around, do nothing for the whole day and be happy?
I think the best way to start of would be to define “Happiness”
“Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy” — Wolfram Alpha
Hmm… So the question now remains, how do I achieve this state? What is the price to pay? Here’s how I’ve paid for my happiness in the recent past
The Monetary Cost
- I pay almost 14k/year to go to the University of Toronto. Studying Engineering at one of the most prestigious schools in Canada and the World is definitely something that brings a lot of pride (And Happiness!) to me.
Cost of Happiness = 14K/Year
- I’m currently working at a startup company doing a 4 month internship after just wrapping up an 8 month internship at a huge corporate! There’s definitely a huge pay difference (Take a guess which one pays less), but am I happier doing what I love and enjoy? YES!
I work almost 10 hour days at a startup as opposed to the regular 9–5, take ownership of a project and a cause much closer to my heart, love interacting with my team on a daily basis and just have a damn awesome time doing what I do!
Cost of Happiness = Corporate Pay - Startup Pay
Note — For someone else, this may be the exact opposite.
- Time is Money. The amount of time I put into my extra-curriculars, peers, social circles, having fun, and enjoying myself!
Cost of Happiness = Time*How much I would generally make in that hour
- Strawberry Milk.
Cost of Happiness = $7.50/Week
The Figurative Cost (And probably the one that overrides the Monetary)
- Hard Work. Putting in all your blood, sweat and tears into making something happen, bringing an awesome idea to life, making the world a better place or just straight up achieving a goal that you have poured your all into doing.
Cost of Happiness = Hard Work
- Time spent with other people. Your relationships.
Not the same as monetary cost. But the happiness gained from interacting with your family and friends, reliving an experience, making memories, and enjoying the time spent with each other.
Cost of Happiness = Time*Experience*Quality of Relationship
- Ultimate Frisbee
Cost of Happiness = 2 Concussions
- Doing what you enjoy. Love what you do and why you do it. I find a lot of things enjoyable, including but not limited to Dancing, Anime, Video Games, Cats, Dogs, F!rosh Week, Skule, my job, making an impact on the community at large and changing the world for the better!
Cost of Happiness = Finding what you enjoy and holding on
- Helping people. One of my core values instilled in me by people who continue to inspire me (Thanks Mom & Dad), to pay it forward has been instrumental in figuring out my leadership style and honestly, just making me happy whenever I have the chance to make that someone’s day just a tiny bit better.
Cost of Happiness = Going out of your way to help someone + My Parents’ time sink in raising me (Whoops)
There’s a lot more that I’d like to cover, but I hope this serves as a good starter guide to anyone in the Pursuit of Happiness (WOAH, THROWBACK! I said it with an “i”, don’t sue me)
On a more serious note, I wouldn’t have found happiness without the help of people around me who have helped me find and discover passion(s), create memories that I cherish and the happiness that I hold on to so dearly!
Sorry, Wolfram Alpha, your definition of Happiness doesn’t quite seem to cover the search and the associated costs, but I guess that’s what makes it so worthwhile to go after.
Find your happiness. Define it, seize it and never let it go. Let it continue to evolve and grow with every living breath, experience and memory you make!