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.

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!

Some Hot Hose Talk…

0GhoseThe hose is an essential part of the RV gear.  Lets face it, if you want water in your RV… it’s going to come from a hose at some point.
For going on three years now we have used the Camco White drinking hose that is the standard when it comes to RVing.  I think that when we purchased our trailer the hose was either included or it was the one that the dealer put in our basket to buy.  Either way it has been a good hose and did exactly what it was supposed to do… move water from the source to the trailer.  On our never ending quest to get the cool stuff for the trailer, every trip is an outing to discover.  On our last trip the family across from us had the Zero-G hose.  I was intrigued by the look and watching him put it away convinced me that I needed to have it.
We got home and the research began.  Video and video and review after review, I knew this hose had to become apart of our supplies.
The things that I was looking for in a new hose was 1.  That is was easy to use.  Rolling it up and storage of the hose had to be easy. 2.  The hose could be used for drinking water.  And 3.  That is was long enough without additional hoses being added.
It appears that this new Zero-G hose meets all of those requirements and I am looking forward to using it on our next outing.
What do you use?  What are the things you are looking for in your gear for your RV?
Let me know.. I am always in search of that perfect piece of gear.
This Zero-G hose seems to be a great addition out of the box for our Happy Place!
Thanks for checking us out!

A Whole new World

19620941_10212181615709065_1052930825452599561_oWhen we purchased our RV in 2016 it was a brand new experience for us.  I have been an avid outdoorsman since I was a little kid.  I have camped all over the place and have been a backpacker for years so transitioning to the wonderful world of the Travel Trailer was to say the least something new and somewhat intimidating… lots of moving parts and certainly a bit more than I put in my pack.
We went to the RV show in Portland to look at RV’s once we made the decision to go that route.  It was overwhelming.  The features, the sizes, the layouts, and all of the stuff.  It seemed that the sky was the limit on how many features and how much you can spend.  Well we settled on what would become the Happy Place.  It was one of those glowing AHHHHHHHH moments.  Teresa and I sat in the Trailer and both agreed that this was the one.  We bought it.
Then came the steep learning curve of moving from the backpack to the RV.  Hoses, hook ups, and of course making it a place that we wanted to be in.. I mean my idea of camping never included dish towels and matching sheet sets.  I’ll never forget the day we picked up the trailer.  The salesman walked us through the retail store at the dealer and showed us all the stuff we “needed”.  And we took his advice and got a bunch of gear that, well. I don’t think we “needed”.. knowing what I know now.
Once we settled in and did our first shake down trip the RV became a bit more less intimidating.  Once I towed it a few times and learned to back it up the rest started getting routine.
The part that I came to love was that trip after trip we got better, we watched other folks in their RV’s and how they set up, took down, and the stuff they had.  I love that the community of the campground, pretty much like backpackers, except backpackers like to spread out and stay to themselves.. unless its time to talk gear.  We started to see better ways to do things and after our first year we had developed our way of doing things and went through our first gear check.  We pulled everything out and loaded the trailer with the stuff we actually used.  The rest went to the shed.  We started watching RV videos on Youtube and extended the community and saw how other folks managed in their RV’s.  It became a fun exercise to see what we could change or add to the trailer.
The tinkering of the trailer became almost an obsession.  That was when I knew we were hooked and totally committed to RVing.  Now, we are not ready for the full-time thing, but longer trips are on the horizon and we will maintain our current frequency of heading out each month to a local destination.
We enjoy visiting local shops, hikes, and the local faire when we roll into a Campground.  It’s a lot different from our old tent camping days where the camp was the thing.  Don’t get me wrong, we love to hang out in camp too.. but now it is more comfortable and certainly has more options for what we do and how we do it.  We often joke as we walk our pups around the loop that it is amazing that we ever liked camping in tents…  And we did.  I still get my share of backpacking with the Scouts, but our Happy Place is the Trailer that is for sure.
It’s been a whole new world for us discovering the wonderful RV camping style.  Don’t think we would have it any other way.. now.
This community at the Camp ground has become a feature we really love.. this blog is our attempt at extending that community.  So… thanks for stopping by our Happy Place!

Wellness Wednesday

Happiness1This morning while I was on my run at the gym I thought about where we are on our journey to Happiness.
Wellness Wednesday will not be a regular posting, but today I thought it important to share a few thoughts.
First of all, what is wellness.  I believe that wellness is one of those “to each his own” things.  Now we can all agree that it has to do with health.. but what makes you well?
I am sure that when we talk about wellness we immediately think of our health, so lets look at it in those terms.. health.. as it relates to our happiness.
Our physical health is very important.  And when I say our I am speaking of not only Teresa and I, but you all too.  This may apply to you and your situation.
So our physical health is very important to us.  We are not super health nuts, we try to eat healthy and are getting into the work outs.  We are three weeks into the gym routine and am really starting to enjoy my time getting healthy.  We both have noticed changes in our selves.  Weight loss, toning, and a general feeling of energy and fitness.
We feel this is important so we live longer and can maintain an active life style.  Looking at family history I think it is important for me to be healthy for a longer life.  My parents are still here and we enjoy the fact that they have been able to watch their grandchildren grow into adults.  They also are going to see a great-grandchild, something that their parents never got to see, nor did their grandparents.  We live in a different time where we have more information and more opportunity to be and stay healthy.  I want to be there to see my grandchildren become adults and perhaps see great-grandchildren.  So we need to stay physically healthy.
Financial Health is an important part of our lives also.  When we are financially healthy we have less stress, we have the ability to do as we want and see our plans become reality.  I retired last month from my career.  The reason I was able to retire was because we put ourselves in a position to be financially healthy.  We will never be millionaires and I doubt we will hit the lottery, but we will be comfortable for the rest of our lives.  I attribute this to forward thinking.  I am no genius and certainly not a financial guru, but decisions we made early in our career, namely to stay in it for 30 years, led to the point where we could retire and spend time living.
Happiness is a big component in our health and wellness.  We strive for happiness in our lives.  I heard once that happy people live longer and make those around them happy.  I also believe that happiness is up to you.  We live in a world that dictates struggle and strife.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Happiness is up to us.. we make it.  We take all of those things that contribute to happiness and make them happen.
Our RV has become a major part in that and to a certain degree, it has become the center piece of how we plan around our wellness.  We have made it a part of what we want out of our lives, who we want to be with, and how we want that manifest within our lives.
The Happy Place (our RV) is our escape, our community, and a focus point to move forward in our lives.
It is family, friends, and a wonderful place where all of our health comes together.
So wellness is important.  It is mental, physical, financial, and spiritual. We find ourselves better for focusing on all areas of our health and wellness.
I feel for those that struggle with their wellness.  It really is up to you to find your Happy Place.
We have found the road to ours.
Thanks for paying us a visit.  This blog is a part of that wellness plan.  It keeps us accountable because it is out there for all to see.
Thanks again!
A happy life starts with a happy Place!