The Happiness Lottery

The Journey to HappinessTalk to any ten people and they may have a different view on what happiness means.  Some need lots of money and lots of stuff to be happy while others tend to be happier when life is simple and they value the things that matter most.  Neither one of the view points is wrong, they are just different.  In our case we tend to focus on those things that matter the most to use and view money as that tool that allows us the opportunity to do the things that make us happy.  We determined that enough is good enough.
We are not gamblers when it comes to pretty much anything.  I like to go to the casino every now and again and play, but it is strictly for entertainment, I don’t count on winning at the casino to pay bills and put food on the table.  The same is with our lives, we don’t gamble when it comes to the tings that make us happy.  We look to the sure thing.  Playing the Happiness Lotto is not a way that we like to play the game of life.  Now that is not to say that we don’t take some risks, it is just that we try to mitigate the negative outcomes as much as we can.  You can’t eliminate it all so that is where staying the course on our plans come in.  Being disciplined in how we use our resources and treat the people and things in our lives.  We don’t play the Happiness Lottery.
We try not to worry about the little stuff, we plan for how we are going to live, and we stick to the plan.  Spinning the wheel and hoping never leads to happiness.  When I was in Iraq we used to say that Hope is not a plan.  We can hope things are going to go our way but unless you do something to make it happen, it won’t.  So it is with Happiness.  You need to make it happen!  And we do.
Life is Good Today!

Be Happy.

New Part Time job

fullsizeoutput_3c4Well.. it took six months, but I am back to work…  A labor of absolute love though.  Three days a week I get to have the best unpaid job in the world… hanging out with my Grandson.  Yep, I am now a babysitter for Mr. Levi.
It is great to have him over everyday.  Had to get used to having a baby in the house again, it’s been 25 years since we changed diapers, bottle fed, and had to adjust schedules around sleep and entertaining the little one.
But he is a gem.  He is really pleasant to be with, rarely cries and has a smile that will melt your heart.  A big part of our happy life.  Our Daughter in law went back to work from Maternity leave on Monday and thanks to great timing with my retirement and all of the other stars lining up it works out that we can save the kids some money as well as create those life long bonds that Levi and I will certainly have.  So Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s I have Levi by myself from 7 AM till about 2 PM when Teresa gets off work.  On Thursdays our Daughter will help watch Levi as that is her day off.  Then Friday’s he is at home with his Mom on her day off.  At first it seemed a bit like a juggle, but we would much rather have him surrounded by family than at a day care.
I personally am ready for our little guy to start walking and talking so we can start doing great adventures together.  He is bringing great joy to our lives and watching him grow what seems to be daily is fun.  His personality is starting to shine and he is quite the character.  Learning ways to express himself and exploring his new world.  Little things like what his fingers do and what happens when he wiggles his feet.  A whole new exciting world awaits him and it’s going to be fun to help him on his journey.  My hope for him is that he remains happy.  Right now he is the happiest kid I know and we want to keep it that way.  Teresa and I will do our part to help in that endeavor.  We hope to model happiness for him.
Well, looks like my break is over, time for a bottle.
Have a Happy day!

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Giving Papa a Break.

 

Happiness and Joy

Happiness: The State of being Happy.
Synonyms: Pleasure, Contentedness, Satisfaction, Cheerfulness, Cheeriness, Merriment, Merriness, Gaiety, Joy, Joyousness, Joviality, Jollity, Jolliness, Glee, Blitheness, Carefreeness, Gladness, Delight, Good Spirits, High Spirits, Light- heartedness, Good Cheer, Well-being, Enjoyment, Felicity.

Joy: A feeling of great pleasure and Happiness.
Synonyms: Great Pleasure, Joyfulness, Jubilation, Triumph, Exultation, Rejoicing, Happiness, Gladness, Glee, Exhilaration, Ebullience, Exuberance, Elation, Euphoria, Bliss, Ecstasy, Transports of delight, Rapture, Radiance.

crismeI had an interesting discussion yesterday with a dear friend of mine about Happiness. We talked about this journey that Teresa and I have set ourselves upon to have a Happy life. He expressed that he was not as much interested in finding happiness as he was in finding Joy. He thought this was an important distinction, I called it semantics. So I had to look it up.  It turns out that it can be a matter of semantics.. or… a matter of perception.  You see, my friend is a great guy and a Godly man.  His perspective, while we both see the same thing is viewed through the lens of Grace.  I hope I am not over simplifying this, but when I think Happy and all that it mean in our lives, he see’s Joy.  After looking at the synonyms for both words the appear to be interchangeable.  It will come down to what you are feeling or looking for as you seek Happiness or Joy.  I can totally see where he is coming from because I know him.
Good Spirits and Light Heartedness are all well and good for him… but being Elated and having a feeling of Exhilaration are much, much better.  And don’t we all want that. Everyone that knows me knows that I love to laugh, joke, and have a great time.  They also know that my friends are a big part of what makes me happy.  It is exhilarating to have wonderful people in my life that make me happy.
As we entered this “Retirement stage” of my life I took stock of the way we lived our life.  I have mentioned before that the Happy Place Diaries is not our attempt at finding Happiness, rather it is our quest to keep our lives Happy.  And that requires us to know what that looks like (our vision of happiness).  As we talked about our life and what we want we went to the definition of Happiness and looking the synonyms we loved what we saw.  It fits us.
Happiness and Joy go hand and hand.  After our little discussion last night I can’t help but think of this like a steak from Sizzler or a steak from Ruths Chris Steak house.  They are both steak, but one is a better cut, much better flavor, and just the thought of it makes your mouth water.  They are both good and fit, but Joy is taking Happiness to the next level.
So maybe in a few years we will start the Joy Place Diaries.. a Journey to a Joyful life… or we keep being happy with the life we have.. Content with who and what we are and we find Joy in that.
We are blessed to have friends like this.  He brings Joy into my life and I am glad we had some fantastic talk last night.
I hope that you all are finding Happiness and Joy in your lives.
Your thoughts are welcome.

Happiness Tip #3 – The People in our Lives

17201265_10211096623424936_6421052433514078069_nWater seeks its level… and so it is with friendships.
I grew up in an Army family.  We moved every three years whether we wanted to or not.  Where my Dad went we followed.  It was just life and to my siblings and I it was totally normal.  Everyone in our friendship circles were in the same boat.  We all had to make new friends every three years and with few exceptions we never saw one another again.  We moved about half way through my Senior year of High School.  I won’t lie, it sucked. Because of our rotation I had actually been at the same High School since I was a Freshman.  Needless to say, when we got to our next place, we made some new friends, I graduated from High School, then I left again, this time for the Army myself… where I started the process all over again.
In 1988 I finally settled down, met my new best friend and made the decision that this was it, I was planting roots.  The Army took me away a few more times, but by and large we had settled down.  After we got married and made the decision that we wanted our kids to grow up in a “hometown”.
It was fun to watch them grow up and make friends, friends that they still have today.  It all seems so normal.  And as we settled in, we made friends, friends that we love to be with and share our lives with.  These people add to our happiness.
Our friends, family, and people who come and go from our lives all add to our happiness.  True friends that we laugh, cry, and share with are all part of what makes us happy.  We have many friends, few close friends, and lots of people that make up the circle which brings happiness to us.  Through Scouting, I have a ton of friends, many of them I consider family, others I just love to be around.  Through other aspects of our lives we have made friends that are always there and we love to be with.  And our family, maybe because of the way we grew up together is close.  Our family had to circle the wagons every three years and start from square one.  So we adapted to being close to one another.  My Sister (she’s the blonde in the picture) is now one of my closest friends… and we RV together all the time.
So the Happiness tip… make great friends and keep your family close.  The people in your life make a huge difference in your happiness.
I could not be more happy with our friends and family and hope that you have people in your lives that make you just as happy… and never forget the impact that you have on them.  You make them happy too.
Dennis Prager shared this;

“For much of my life, I, like most people, regarded the pursuit of happiness as largely a selfish pursuit. One of the great revelations of middle age has been that happiness, far from being only a selfish pursuit, is a moral demand.
When we think of character traits we rightly think of honesty, integrity, moral courage, and acts of altruism. Few people include happiness in any list of character traits or moral achievements.
But happiness is both.
Happiness — or at least acting happy, or at the very least not inflicting one’s unhappiness on others — is no less important in making the world better than any other human trait.
With some exceptions, happy people make the world better and unhappy people make it worse. This is true on the personal and global planes.”

You can read the whole article here.

I’ll leave you with this.  Baden Powell the founder of Scouting shared this:
“But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best.”

Be Happy and be the person that brings happiness to others.  You will get more back than you can imagine.
Thanks for hanging out with us on our Journey.
Have a Happy Day!

Happiness Tip #2 – Declutter

16864200_10210956663766032_2572772815531985169_nStuff.. more Stuff… and even more Stuff… Happy yet?

Stuff has become a dominate factor in most people’s lives.  A need to keep up with the Jones’s and wealth being measured in things.  But it does not bring happiness.

OK… I like stuff to, but it is important to know that the stuff should be something that enhances our lives, not dictates how our lives should be lived.

Clutter has caused many of us to loose focus on what is important.  Again, this adds to the stress of life.  I do not suggest I am perfect…. but I do know how to identify and correct problems.  Over the last couple years, we have started the reduction of clutter in our lives.  Everything from financial stress to stuff.  We have learned that there is a line that when crossed adds to stress and reduces our happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind.  When the mind is cluttered it does not function well.  Remember back in the day when you crammed for tests… your mind was so full of information that it could never operate efficiently.  Yeah, you may have passed the test, but you could have done better had you taken it with a mind that was prepared and not stressed.  Our happiness is not dependent on other people.  Keeping up with the Jones’s just leads to chasing our tail.  Getting deeper in debt and ultimately living someone else’s dream instead of your own.  When we declutter and take on our own dreams we tend to be happier.

Now I know that this is not a one size fits all post.  Some people have a strong desire to have more stuff… it makes them happy… until it doesn’t anymore.

What I have seen is people that have a constant need to have the best and newest.  I remember in High School when everyone had to have an Izod shirt.  That little alligator was a status symbol that meant you were part of the “haves”.  I think my shirt had a turtle on it or something, we were not poor or ever went without, but I have never been a fashion guy.. just ask my wife, she’s happy when I match sox.  But having the alligator was keeping up with the Jones’s, and that made High School kids happy.  But then we grow up.  Those of us that no longer chase the alligator move on to happy lives.  Those that keep chasing it never seem happy.. and that is sad.

A reduction of clutter in the home is also a stress reducer.  The home is easier to maintain and allows for life to go one.  Have you ever seen the TV show “Hoarders”?  Those folks are never happy and life is a mess.  So reduce clutter in your life and you see happiness become real.

Stay tuned for our final part of this series on Friday… Your Happiness Tip #3.  People in your life!

Thanks again for hanging out with us here at our Happy Place.  A Place where Happiness is the plan!

Have a Happy Day!

The Journey

We just put a video up to talk about our journey.  We are looking at establishing direction with the YouTube Channel and as we study and learn what it takes to produce content for the channel we also are trying to refine our audience.  We don’t know what that looks like yet.  While one of our goals is to share our journey with everyone, we also want to maintain focus on the RV community and helping new RVers discover the joy that it brings.  It is our Happy Place!
So if you have not checked it out yet.. please consider it.  Subscriptions are totally Free!
Thanks for coming along the journey with us!

Two Months and all is well

retiredIt’s been two months since my last day of employment.  My retirement day and “ceremony” was nothing special other than the drive home when I realized that waking up every morning was going to be different.  I would have to find a new purpose for getting out of bed.  Life was no longer about waking up and providing for the family, the retirement plan would now take care of that.  For the first week I spent time realizing how life would be different.  I created task lists and to do’s.  I spent time thinking about future direction and the projects that I would be taking on, we established our goals for 2019 and beyond.  And low and behold I became busier that I ever have been.  A good kind of busy though, a busy that is driven by me and what I want to do, when I want to do it.
I have mentioned before that I am very active in Scouting.  Scouting has taken a large amount of my time.  It is time that I love giving as I know and have seen the benefits of the program in building up youth and leading them to be good people that will one day assume leadership in our communities.  That is a subject for another time, but I share this to say that being retired has allowed me more time to give to Scouting.
I was asked a few months before my retirement if I would entertain the idea of leading a major project for the local Scout Council.  Taking on the Committee Chairman position to lead the Contingent to the 2021 National Jamboree.  I accepted this position with the understanding that it would essentially become a full time job (not paid).  And so far it has lived up to that expectation.  There is almost something every day that I have to dedicate to this effort.  Don’t get me wrong.. I love it and it has been a ton of fun…. so far.
But today marks the two month mark since my retirement.  Teresa and I had discussed as we were planning for the retirement what the first few months would look like.  How the money would be budgeted, what to do with my time, and of course, how much time we could spend in the RV.  So with the holidays right on the heals of the retirement, the kids house burning, and the birth of our grandson, it has been a real busy two months.  We did manage to get our in the RV once in November, but it soon became a temporary home while the insurance found a place for the kids to stay.  That is all working out just fine now for the kids and it looks like their house will be ready to move in around April or May.
So in the first two months all things considered all is well.  We are not worried about the money, we are keeping busy, going to gym every morning, and then there is the blog and the Youtube Channel.  Which we have taken on as a project to share our happy life.
The blog is… well you tell me… doing well?  I am not sure what that means or how to measure it.  I see the number of views and subscriptions have gone up, but in the two months since we started it we are not certain that our goal of establishing community has moved the needle.  We have not received feedback and our comments sections are extremely quiet.  So I assume that just takes time and time is something that we have for sure.
The Youtube channel relaunch also has been real quiet.  While our effort thus far has been in getting our plan together as to what our channel is going to look like and we are creating content and plans for future content, the growth of the channel is pretty non existent… but that too takes time and with more and more content we hope hope that it will grow.  For us it is about sharing the story.  We understand that there are millions of options on Youtube, but as we watch other channels we get the idea that there is something for everyone and a place for everyone’s story to be told.  So we will be hanging in there and will continue to create content for both the blog and the Youtube Channel.  It’s only been two months, the reality world that I live in knows that all good things need to grow and that simply takes time.  Time that we have.
It’s been two months to the day… and All is well.
Thanks for coming along with us on our journey.
Can I ask that you if you like what we are doing.. share it with a friend.  Check out our Youtube channel… and again, if you like what you see, share it.  If you don’t like it today.. check back.. the future looks fun for us and what we are trying to do.
Have a Happy Day!

Happiness

Happiness1Lets talk about happiness.  I am sure that happiness is on a huge sliding scale and means something different to everyone.  We call our site the Happy Place Diaries, a reference to our RV by and large and the happiness that it has brought to us.  But the sub text of our site is a “Journey to Happiness” and that is where we need to define or shed some insight as to what Happiness means to us and what being on a journey to “find” it means.
First of all our journey to happiness should not imply that we are not happy and we are in search of being happy.  On the contrary, we are very happy with our lives, what we know however by observation is that happiness can be fleeting and change by life circumstances.  Our journey to happiness essentially is an effort to mitigate those circumstances and find happiness and joy in how we live our lives.  I think that we can distill that down to a few ideas or ways that we choose to live our lives.
Number 1.  Money.  Money is the number one stressor in most peoples lives.  We have achieved some financial freedom and have made decisions that allow us to reduce the stress that money could have on us.  We have conceded that we will never be millionaires and that we can live comfortably on what we have.  To us it comes down to an understanding that at the end of the day it is not a bunch of stuff that matters.  Rather it is how we use that stuff to make life better for us and others that make a difference.  Now would I love to be a millionaire?  Sure.. it would open a few more doors, but the trade off is the question.  What is the cost to have all the money and still not be happy.  One of the biggest decisions of our lives was for me to retire.  It came down to can we live comfortably and can we take care of ourselves and our family.  The answer was yes.  It would mean that we would have to make some sacrifices, if you want to call it that, in that, not moving into a new house and getting real good and our budgeting.  But working together we have come to a happy place in our money and that stressor of our lives.
Number 2.  Stuff.  How much stuff do you need.  We have our hobbies and interests, but when a serious inventory is taken of stuff… how much do you really use and what do you need.  Over the past six months or so we have really been taking a look at our stuff and what we need and use.  Many trips to the Salvation Army, Good Will, and the dump has reduced the amount of stuff we have.  Combined with selling off some good used stuff we really have a better understanding of our stuff.  Society dictates that we need more and more and encourages clutter, the by products of to much stuff.  We still have more work to do to reduce our stuff and declutter, but what we know for sure that less has become more.  I think that is one of the wonderful things about the RV.  Everything has a place, everything is in its place, and everything has a function or we don’t need it.
On the journey to happiness reduction of stuff has actually made us happier.  We have learned to use what we have and not get bogged down by what the “Jones’s” have.  It really does not matter in the grand scheme of things.  What I discovered after I retired is that when it comes to clothing for example, I have more than I need and use.  When I was working I was always in uniforms or casual clothes.  Now that I have quit wearing uniforms I am only wearing cloths that fit my life style.. casual.  Yeah, I’m holding on to a suit or two and keeping some nicer clothes in the closet, but really it’s all about comfort and practical use clothing.  The rest can go.  Kind of like going to a restaurant that has too much on the menu.  To many choices apply a little more stress and less happiness.  I know what I like and that is what I do.  That makes me more happy than wading through the clutter of stuff.
10900246_10204119814730465_1618872015724708408_oAnd Finally, number 3.. Family.  While it is last on this list, it certainly is first in what makes us happy.  Keeping our family first has made us very happy.  We have three kids that are all grown and almost gone.  They are the joy of our lives, not without frustration and concern at times, but that’s called parenting, our kids have grown to become good adults.  They all have good jobs, staying focused on their goals, and are good citizens.  They are responsible and loving.  They are caring and kind.  Our oldest son just gave us the gift of a grandchild.  The best of our family is that they value the family.  They understand that the family is most important.  It is the foundation of who and what we are.  Our whole family from our parents to now our Grandson is the most important thing in our lives.  It brings us great joy and happiness.
Family, Reducing Stress, and taking inventory of stuff.  A simply formula for happiness and three things that through focus and work have made us happy and contribute to our happiness.  We have a Happy Life, we want to keep it that way.. and this is our journey. Always staying focused on the reduction of anything that does not make us happy.  I was listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast one day and he summed it up pretty well.  “If it doesn’t make you money and it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it.”  It doesn’t do us much good to do things that move us away from happiness.  So we don’t.
We are happy to share… how about you?
What are some things that you do in your life to make you or keep you happy?
Leave us a comment and share happiness with us.

The BIG 5 List- Building Community

let's be social.This weeks Big 5 list comes with hat in hand.  I know that it takes time to build a community.  To make friends, build trust, and produce enough content that makes it worth while for people to want to pay a visit.
This goes for restaurants, retail stores, YouTube channels, and Blogs.  We all go where we feel welcome, have great service, and feel we get something in return for our time and treasure.  And so as we build community through our online medium we are attempting to do all of that.  Give you a reason to return, have some value for your time, and make you feel welcome as we tell our story.
So here is the Big 5 things that we can do to build our Happiness Community.
1.  Share.  As we share with you.. you share with us.  If you would trust us to become a part of our online community spread the word.
2.  Comment.  Leave us a comment.  That way this can be a two way conversation.  It is so much easier to talk when we know someone is listening and wanting to talk back.
3.  Visit often.  We are putting posts out at least three times a week.  So there is always something to see.
4.  Let is know what you think and want.  If it is a gear review, a certain subject discussed, or just want to say Hi!  Let us know what you think.  You can email us direct or send us a tweet.. or just leave a comment.  We really care what you think and want.
5.  Let is be apart of your community.  If you have a blog, a YouTube Channel, or have a great idea in search of happiness.. let us know who and where you are.  That way we can join you.
It is a simple plan.  Share, Comment, Visit, Talk to us, and Let us Join your Community!
Thanks for hanging in there as we build this blog.  If it’s not working for you, but you are interested, let us know!

A Story to tell

16722865_10210896369138704_8453717804084474142_oWe all have a story.  It may not seem interesting or spectacular, in fact to you it may seem very ordinary.  For most of us we try to have as normal or ordinary life as we can, but still with that there is a story.
The story of your family, your friends, significant events in our lives all shape the story of our lives.  When I was young (as many of you) there was no such thing as an internet. You learned about someones story when they wrote a book or you saw a documentary or TV special about them.  Now we have blogs, Youtube channels, and anyone can Google your name and learn a bit about you and your story.  It seems that more and more people want to share their story with the world.  This is something that takes getting used to, especially for folks of my parents generation.  Us 50 somethings seem to be adjusting to this new found world of story telling.  I follow some blogs and YouTube channels of folks my age that are sharing their stories.  At first it was a bit strange that my generation was into this.  For about 7 years I had a blog that was specific to Scouting.  I have since taken it down for various reasons, namely I found it hard to respond to negative comments and online bashing.  Not to say I have a thin skin, rather, I have a low tolerance of stupid and wasting my time.  And so I shut it down to allow a bit of sanity to come back to my online experience.  So I can see why “Older” folks tend to maybe shy away from putting their stories out there.
With this blog, Teresa and I are willing to share our journey with the hope that a path to happiness will create that in others.  We want to share our experiences and the story that comes along with creating a happy life.
Look around, there is so much negativity and division in our world, telling our stories about the journey to a happier life may just change some of that.
I find great joy in watching other families share their stories.  They tend to keep it positive and it restores some hope that there are communities out there that seek a better life.  It is fun to watch as these amateur story tellers are refining “Movie making” and story telling.  It is great to watch and learn from them and yep.. copy their styles.
I initially got the idea to talk with Teresa about sharing our story from watching Mark and Trish from the Keep Your DayDream blog and YouTube channel.  They took us on some epic journeys in the last couple years and inspire a better style of living for what is most important.  And then there is RVDaydream, just a couple empty nesters that have made a decision to live simple, travel, and share their adventure with us.  I think that I really relate to this couple.  They are our age, common interests, and have an honest, non polished approach to their story telling.
Our story is a simple one.  We are at that age when life is good.  I have recently retired, Teresa has a flexible job, the kids are all grown, and we are now Grandparents.  We are simplifying our lives and focusing on what is most important to us.  Fun, Travel, and Adventure are a part of our lives because we can and want to.  And we want to share that story.  It may not be refined or polished, but it is ours and ours to share.
We hope that you find something in our story that will inspire you to share yours.  We hope that you share it and be apart of this growing community… event those of us on the edge of learning new technology and ways to tell and share our stories.
YouTube Channels that I subscribe to:
Less Junk, More Journey
Keep Your Day Dream
Long Long Honeymoon
You, Me, & The RV
I Love RV Life
Less House More Living
I’m Not Lost, I’m RVing
Most of these Youtube channels also have accompanying blogs and websites.  I encourage you to check them out and give them a like and subscribe to their channels. They put a bunch of work into their videos and sites.  And I get a lot out of their channels, you may also find some value in paying them a visit.
Let me know what you think.  Are you sharing your story?  Leave a comment and if you would..share our story with your friends.
Thanks for coming along!