On a quite irregular basis I am making some notes about life and the rest of the world in a kind of computer-diary on my notebook.
This is actually a very good source of authentic memories, as our mind over time seems to distort the events we remember – sometimes to the better, sometimes to the worse.
However, find below a (incomplete) list of exemplary happiness moments in Woodpecker’s life in 2012.
Please note that most of this moments have little to do with money spending or consumption. Some did involve some costs, but then mostly to a very limited degree.
I am sure, if you do the same exercise, you will find a similar result: Happiness and consumption are quite uncorrelated.
Also observe that most happiness moments just happen along the way when pre-conditions were right at that point of time (e.g. no stress, a lot of time, good social contacts).
Observation: Happiness does not seem to be planable.
So what were Woodpecker’s happiness moments in 2012?
- A great day of skiing in the alps at perfect weather with a good friend. Cost: 80 EUR.
- The birth of Woodpeckers second son. Well, every parent knows that this is a magical moment, as difficult to explain to somebody who doesn’t know it as it is to explain the feeling of your first love to somebody who never experienced it. Cost: 0 EUR.
- A beautiful spring day in the city of Munich, sitting in the warm March sunshine at a Café on Odeonsplatz, Munich with Mrs. Woodpecker, the boy and the new-born in Woodpeckers arm. Had a nice White-Beer, a musician was playing and I thought of my poor colleagues who had to work that day. Cost: 10 EUR.
- Going to a kids carnival party with the boy. It was a Wednesday, I was the only male there with 20 mothers and 30 kids. Good fun ;). Cost: 5 EUR.
- Got rid of our 2nd car, that caused only troubles and cost, at a good price. Celebrated with a grilling party. Cost: 0, actually earned 1000 EUR.
- Starting of this blog. The first follower and the first comment. Cost: 0 EUR.
- A very good night out with my oldest friend in Bamberg, talking about the past, the present and the future. Cost: 20 EUR.
- A business trip, sleeping two entire nights in the hotel without any interruption by the baby ;). Cost 0 EUR, actually got two decent dinners for free on company costs.
- Good insights about life, frugal living, downshifting etc. Good blog readings. Cost 0 EUR.
- My first home-office day. Birds chirping outside, a great home-made meal on the terrace instead of eating in the canteen. Having my own toilet ;). Cost: 0 EUR, actually commuting costs saved. (LINK)
- Spending a day together with another family in a fun park. Got a special offer and actually spent most time at a water-playground there with attached beer-garden which the other father and I took advantage off. Cost: 50 EUR.
- A hot day spent at the local lake. Met another family. Felt like mediterranean. Cost: 5 EUR for ice cream.
- A weekend and a grilling party with friends at a lake in the mountains due to Woodpeckers birthday. Got access to a hut there for free. Cost: 50 EUR for food and transport.
- Sailing lake Chiemsee for two days with parents-in-law while making some important decisions. This one was costly: 150 EUR yacht rental + food. (LINK)
- A good conversation about politics with an intelligent person in a beautiful Munich beer garden. Cost: 20 EUR.
- Sailing a day with my cousin and the boy on lake Ammersee. Cost: 30 EUR.
- Read a great novel (Freedom by J.Franzen). Cost: 10 EUR.
- Doing gardening work. Cost: 0 EUR.
- Making new acquaintances (a father who is into sailing) at the local playground (LINK). Cost: 0 EUR.
- Exploring a beautiful quarter of Hamburg that I did not know before. Cost: 0 EUR.
- A day on the beach at island Langeoog (LINK). Built his first sand-castle with the boy and defending it together against the tide rolling in. Cost: 50 EUR.
- Countless wonderful moments on our Italy trip (LINK). The trip was costly, but most happiness moments were neither planned nor expensive. Just sitting at a perfect plaza watching life there or a great unexpected view, or walking a nice scenery, or having a relaxed day at the beach.
- First day back at work after 4 months of. Belief it or not – this WAS a happy moment. Seeing all colleagues, tell them of our trip, being still relaxed like a buddhist monk. Cost: 0 EUR.
- A day to a local science museum with the kids and another family plus a walk in the nearby park. Cost: 2 EUR.
- An achievement at the job. Cost: 0 EUR.
- Watching the baby making his first toddling. Cost: 0 EUR.
- A nice family bicycle tour to a beer garden about 20 km away. Perfect weather, good moods and perfect food there. Cost: 25 EUR.
- Another business trip to a business fair. Met old colleagues from a former employer there and had a great night out. Cost: 0 EUR.
- A family gathering. Seen relatives I haven’t met for a long time. Cost 100 EUR transport.
- Meeting old friends in Berlin (LINK). Cost: 200 EUR incl. transport and a nice Bavarian Weißwurst breakfast and beer I imported from Munich.
- Had some good investment ideas that turned out to be successful. Cost: 0 EUR.
- An incredible funny evening out with colleagues at a Thai restaurant. Cost: 30 EUR.
- Watching a great play at a Munich theater. Cost: 14 EUR.
- Woodpeckers first night out as a couple since 12 months. Baby has a more stable rhythm now and the babysitter was accepted by both kids – hurray! Cost: 60 EUR.
- Invitations to friends for dinner – with kids. Cost: 10 EUR for present.
- Seeing the glowing eyes of the boy on Christmas. This starts to be fun again! Cost: 50 EUR.
- Walking over to a kids service on Christmas day, 2pm. It was a peculiar warm day in Munich, about 20 degrees C (68 F), the birds were chirping, the boy on the bench next to me was wearing only a T-Shirt, the sun was blazing in and everybody was singing “Silent night”. Very surreal. Cost: 10 EUR donation.
OK, I stop it here, although I could go on and on – there are much more happy moments during a year than I thought initially!
Needless to say there were also a couple of unhappy and stressful moments, but to expect only light without shadow would be a bit too much maybe.
However it’s good just to write down once in a while the great moments you had – that way a passed year is not only another number on the calendar.
Go ahead and make your own list!