How to Define and Create Your Own Happiness

Now that the mad rush of Christmas is over, I’ve had some time to think back on all that happened over the holidays. We received and gifted What makes a person happy? What brings you happiness? The answer is different for everyone that's why you should define and create your own many presents but what does it all mean? It’s fun to get lots of stuff but that joy is only temporary. After the luster of the gifts have worn off, then what?

Earlier this month I attended a holiday party hosted by my boss. She graciously invited us into her lovely home and holy cow she lives in a ginormous house. It’s a really beautiful space with not one, not two, but three fully decorated trees. The kids even have their own “wing” of the house. At one point, I thought, gosh, I’d love to live in a house like that someday. Then reality set in and I realized that that’s not me. While I would love to live in such a beautiful space, the maintenance it would require would drive me nuts.

It made me realize that many things on the surface can appear quite glamorous but that doesn’t mean they’re meant for us. I think my boss is quite happy in her home but the thought of cleaning it and the costs associated with cooling and heating gave me quite the headache.

The point is, we should pursue what makes us happy, not what society tells us we should chase after. I remember in one of my college classes we were asked what we’re afraid of in life. A classmate answered, “Not being successful.” I think maybe people feel the same way but what exactly does success mean? To some, success means having lots of money. Others may find success in having a good job. There are also some who equate success with being married and having a family.

There are multiple ways to define happiness. It’s not just about money and things. It can be but don’t limit yourself. I encourage you to find your own meaning of happiness and that’s what I challenge myself to do as we approach the new year. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far.

Financial Independence

This is my number sign that I’ve made it, that I’ve made it. I dream of the day that I reach financial independence as it will reflect that I’ve worked hard to get to where I am. Not only that, it will mean more opportunities.

Many of us work the jobs we do not because we want to but because we have to. Life is expensive and you gotta make money to pay the bills! Being financially independent will mean that I’m not dependent on that paycheck and I can pursue things that interest me. I know, it’s a shocker but waking up at 6 every morning to drive 30 minutes to an office and sitting in a cubicle all day does not strike my fancy.

Plus, there’s so much politicking that goes on in an office that it drives me bonkers. People are willing to be cutthroat or throw people under the bus in order to receive a promotion. There’s also so much gossip that it can create a really toxic environment.

It really bums me out that the best years of my life are wasted doing something I don’t really enjoy. I’ve never been one to say that you have to love your job but I’d at least like to not be bored by it.

I can remedy this in this meantime by trying to find a job that I like better but at the end of the day, I’d love to be financially stable enough such that I don’t have to depend on a paycheck. Being financially independent will offer so much more freedom and that’s what I strive for.  That leads me to my next point. Being financially independent would allow more freedom which would make me very happy.

Freedom With My Time

This goes hand in hand with financial independence. I would love to be the one to dictate how I spend my time. Think about it. Most of us who work office jobs need to show up by 8 and stay until 5. We need to do this 5 time a week. If we want to take a day off, we need permission from our bosses.

It’s not a very pleasurable way to spend our precious time. I look forward to having the freedom to choose how I spend my day. I think a lot of the employer expectations are very outdated. Many people can probably get their work done in under 40 hours a week but the expectation is that you should be present and available.

I would love to wake up naturally in the morning instead of to a piercing alarm on my phone. Instead of rushing to the office to be with my coworkers, I get to spend quality time with my family. Rather than being annoyed by having to sit in rush hour traffic, I can leisurely go about my day.


Here’s my parting message as we begin the new year. Dream big and go after what you want. Make sure that you’ve defined your own goals and dreams and that you’re not achieving what someone else has defined for you.

What makes a person happy? What brings you happiness? The answer is different for everyone that's why you should define and create your own happiness.


9 Replies to “How to Define and Create Your Own Happiness”

  1. “The point is, we should pursue what makes us happy, not what society tells us we should chase after”

    I love this line! We definitely should live our own life!

  2. Terrific post!

    We share similar definitions/goals that will go towards our happiness. I wish to obtain financial freedom specifically because it will allow me to dictate my own time, instead of someone else dictating it. The power to control your own time is one that not many get to achieve in life, and if you do, it’s an amazing feeling.

    Thanks for sharing this, and I wish you a successful and happy 2018!

  3. Freedom of time to spend it doing things for my family and friends. I can’t wait!!

    Love this reminder of WHY people with the goal of FIRE are making the sacrifices to be happy.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Having autonomy in your life is one of the biggest things that drives satisfaction. Being able to choose when to wake up, what to do, and picking which hobby you are passionate about pursuing all lead to more happiness. Hard to do those things when you are stuck in the rat race.

    This definitely provides motivation to make sound financial decisions to get there though! Thanks for the encouragement and for reminding all of us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it doesn’t involve keeping up with the Joneses.

  5. I couldn’t have said it any better myself! We never know the stories behind some of those big houses. I know one guy who lives in a beautiful home with a beautiful wife (huh, sounds like a song I know, lol!) with two kids and an ocean view, and he seems miserable. Not that every person who is rich and lives in a big home is, but you don’t know the whole story of their life. Better to just concentrate on our own stories! 🙂

  6. This is great post.
    So many people dream of success, but don’t actually know what success means to them. Thinking that it might be the big house, fancy cars and loads of money in the bank, when if fact it might just be the freedom to make choices.
    Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it.

  7. Worklife sounds so bleak from this point of view. I know you aren’t alone, but it still makes me sad. I live in a city, but there are minimal traffic problems here. My commute is 10-20 min tops. I would like it to be longer actually since I love listening to audiobooks. I like my work and continue to do it despite being FI.
    I realize not everyone can have such control over where they live or what work they do. Still, many who long for an early retirement may be able to choose a better work environment in the meantime. Life is too short to suffer – even if the end goal is in sight.

  8. Holy cow, three Christmas trees? That’s over compensating for something.
    Good luck with Financial Independence. It is a long journey so you need to enjoy life too. Don’t be too focused on the finish line. You probably should find a job that you like better. It’s okay to gut it out for one or two years, but don’t do it too long. You’ll be miserable.

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