Happier at Home: Is it okay to want material things?

This post was inspired by Happier at Home(disclosure: this is an amazon affiliate account)
by Gretchen Rubin where she runs a nine month experiment to create happier surroundings. Join From Left to Write on January 6 we discuss Happier at Home. You can also chat live with Gretchen Rubin on January 7 on Facebook! As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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This book came at a great time for me, I am not unhappy at home, but obviously recent situations have left me feeling down, and that affects my family. I always want my home to be a happy place and I know that my emotions don’t always let that happen. Unfortunately, I found this book hard to read and a bit dry. There was some really great content, but weeding through the rest left me a bit bored.

There was one piece that struck me right away, Gretchen Rubin talks about how people wanting things to make themselves happy was a failure, but is that mutually exclusive? Can someone who is happy want materialistic things because of what interests them? Can they still be just as happy or genuinely happier with that item?

I think now, especially in the blog world, there is this idea that if you say you want something materialistic (like making a gift wish list) then you are a bad person, because you should be focusing on your family or significant other and your friends, etc… You should be focusing on making memories and being grateful for the time you have. I don’t think that that statement is entirely wrong, but having the desire for items doesn’t mean you don’t value the relationships in your life.

I, personally, don’t wear a ton of jewelry, I don’t need tons of rings and watches, etc… (and it doesn’t make you a bad person if you happen to like those things). I do however love kitchen items. I love having people over for dinner and making great meals. I love trying new gadgets or baking pans. I love going to kitchen or home stores and spending hours looking around.

I truly am happy when I am in the kitchen cooking or baking for people. Wanting a cast iron skillet or new chopper isn’t going to make me happier, and I am well aware of that, but new appliances that allow me to add new recipes to my repertoire, especially recipes that someone I love, loves, well that makes me incredibly happy.

I agree with Gretchen when she writes that items we desire these items, not because we needs possessions but because of what these items mean to us. Seeing a smile on my husband or sons face after a newly discovered meal, that is why I want these items.

What do you think? Can people still desire material things and be happy?

A Fresh Start

I know you’ve probably read a hundred Christmas & New Year’s recaps coupled with another hundred resolution posts, so I promise I won’t add a lot to that stack.

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My goals for 2013 were to lose a certain amount of weight and to take 20 minutes off my half marathon PR. I was definitely on my way to the weight goal before I found out I was pregnant and after the miscarriage I pretty much just gave up. The PR also didn’t happen because the half was just too close to the miscarriage to feel comfortable running that many miles.

I don’t want to make huge resolutions, I never do really, but I especially don’t want to this year. The past week has been especially telling, after all the stressing of a miscarriage and no new pregnancy, I have been going a little crazy to say the least. A huge realization was when my stress ulcer flared up like crazy this weekend. The only other occurrence was last year when were moving out of our condo. On top of that I have been knocked on my ass the past 3 days with a pretty nasty cold. I’ve been to scared of irritating the ulcer to even take cold meds, so this has been super fun.

I must say though, Nick and my MIL have been pretty great throughout this whole thing. My MIL took care of B and Nick took care of me while we still in CT. Then we cancelled our NYE plans and headed back to Boston early, and Nick has been taking care of B while I have pretty much been camped out on the couch since we got home.

This has been a huge wakeup in listening to my body. I have been pushing myself in some aspects and taking breaks in other areas, and just not listing to what my body needs. Not enough sleep or sweat while I was away really didn’t help.

I am grateful for finding some great friends, and making some friendships even stronger, I am blessed to be able to sweat it out at some amazing places where the support systems are amazing. I don’t  think that I could ever put it in words how amazing Nick has been throughout these months, I am a very lucky woman.

I need 2014 to be a happier and healthier year for the whole family. And to thank all of you for being so great and sticking by my side during some very tough times in 2013 and for tho past THREE(!) years that I have had this blog, I have a great giveaway coming up next week!

I hope you all had a healthy and happy end of 2013!