Last week, I asked you about happiness. Before I get to your responses, I have a story to tell.
When I was in my 20s, sometimes I did stupid things. (Didn’t we all?) One fine summer day, a friend and I went for a bike ride. It was hot, so I wore nothing but shorts and shoes. Shirt? Nope. Helmet? Didn’t even own one.
There was a huge hill near me and per my speed demon style, I flew down it with reckless abandon. At the bottom, going somewhere between 20 and 30 miles per hour, I hit a bump. And that is when the accident happened.
One moment, I was on the bike. The next, I found myself tumbling on the asphalt for what seemed like forever. When I finally stopped, I was in pain and blood was oozing from every part of my body but my head. I didn’t know what was going on, but knew it wasn’t good. Here is what had happened:
The quick release on the front tire was loose. When I hit the bump at the bottom of the hill, the front tire liberated itself. The fork planted itself in the asphalt and sent me over the bars. My friend, who was riding behind me, told me that I somersaulted in the air before coming back to earth.
By some miracle, I rolled out of the accident without serious injury. My body hurt, there was blood everywhere, and the bike was a goner, but by some miracle, I hadn’t hit my head. I also had no broken bones. I was incredibly lucky.
I relate this story because of this comment from Liz, the Chief Mom Officer:
Four and a half years ago my husband almost died of septic shock (he was on a ventilator, in the ICU for a week, and away from home for a month). Since then he’s had multiple very complex surgeries to try and repair the damage done.
That event was a turning point in my life-so much so that I usually refer to events occurring “before” or “after” he got sick. Before that I might be upset about a project at work, frustrated that the trash wasn’t taken out, or other little things.
Like Liz, I should be thankful for every single day after my accident. I could have been dead or paralyzed. Instead, a couple weeks later, I was back to normal.
Chris O from Goals and Marks had this to say and I like it:
My genetic component has set up a Bad Wolf Sanctuary, where naughty canines get spa treatments, mani/pedis, and daily pep talks from high-paid (de-)motivational speakers. I won’t pretend that it’s not a real problem for me, especially when some external situation that knocks me around a bit.
My best tool is structure. I know my physical, mental and emotional triggers and avoid them. I know the things that help me (like a regular sleeping schedule that works with my circadian rhythms, taking vitamin D, positive self-talk, etc.). I curate the information I take in.
I focus on ways that the things I CAN control prepare me to weather the things I can’t. That’s less than explanatory, so an example would be: I can’t control stock market volatility, but I can control how often I look at the stock report.
Reader Jacq mentioned this wisdom from her refrigerator magnet:
Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere.
This was great too:
I use logic and gratitude to help the ‘good wolf’ win.
First, I take responsibility for my happiness. It’s not up to some outside force to make me happy (or unhappy). And since I can’t control external factors, I practice trying to let them go. I remember the phrase “In the absence of my judgment, things would be neither good nor bad, they’d just be.”
Biglaw’s comment reminded me of a book I’m reading right now:
While I haven’t yet The Art of Happiness, I’ve learned loads from it already. Some of my favorite pieces of advice so far:
A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.
Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you can suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation.
Proper utilization of time is so important. While we have this body, and especially this amazing human brain, I think every minute is something precious. Our day-to-day existence is very much alive with hope, although there is no guarantee of our future.
The main thing that I’ve learned from the book is that we can control our happiness through discipline and training our minds on how to react to certain situations. I have to work hard at it, but is there anything less worthwhile than pursuing happiness? I don’t think so.
But wait, hold up a second; pursuing happiness itself is silly. Happiness isn’t really the goal. If not, what is then? My friend Chad Carson sent me this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt which sums it up perfectly:
Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is deliberately to map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively. After a short time, a very short time, there would be little that one really enjoyed. For what keeps our interest in life and makes us look forward to tomorrow is giving pleasure to other people.
I couldn’t agree more and I’ll expand on Mrs. Roosevelt’s wisdom:
Happiness is the result of a life well lived:
- Fill your time with meaningful work.
- Discipline your mind and body.
- Work on identifying negative thoughts and influences. Learn how to deal with them. Don’t feed the Bad Wolf.
- Leave the world a better place because you have lived. Tread lightly and help others.
and you’ve set yourself up for happiness.
Here is what I’m going to do:
- Get in the best shape of my life: Currently, this is taking the form of P90X workouts, running and biking. More on this in my performance update next week.
- Devote at least 20 hours per week to work I’m passionate about: This is the epiphany I keep hinting at and I look forward to telling you all about it in a post next month.
- Discipline my mind: I spend too much time farting around in email and Twitter.
- Give back: I’m not sure what form this will take yet, but I’d like to use my computer and/or building skills to help my community.
- Build good relationships with like minded people: I worked on this one the day after Thanksgiving when I organized a hiking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park with old and new friends. Here is the view from atop Estes Cone:
Now, I turn it over to Mrs. 1500 who was very, very naughty.
Hi there, Mrs. 1500 today
Mr. 1500 has spent $18 (total) on his haircuts in the past 10 years. I recently got an amazing cut, but was surprised at the cost. Mr. 1500 was shocked when I called him to tell him.
Mr. 1500 note: Shocked? That is an understatement. Also, it’s interesting that you’re not telling our readers the price of your haircut…
We live across the street from a delightful woman and her mother, both of whom are hair stylists. But they’re not Super-Cuts stylists, which is more my speed, cost- and style-wise. When I was a stay at home mom, I spent as little as possible on my hair, because it was always in a pony tail. I probably spent more on hair ties than hair cuts.
But now I have a Real Job, where I have to look presentable twice a week, with makeup and hair that isn’t in a pony tail. Frequently, I make videos for the whole internet to see, which makes me slightly more vain than I used to be.
Back when we first moved into our house, both of the women across the street ended up on crutches. J was on them for 6 months for some horrific break, and B ended up having knee surgery during this same time.
J noticed me outside and had asked me if I could help her get her mother into the house when she came home from the surgery, and of course I said yes.
They had this really awesome ice/knee pad thing with a pump (think an igloo cooler) that circulated ice cold water around her knee, but was awkward and heavy, and they have stairs to navigate. Twice a day, I would go over and help B get up/down the stairs and brought the ice pump thing up/down the stairs since I had four working limbs.
(I swear this story has a point.)
Mr. 1500 note: Come on, tell the readers what your haircut cost!
As a way to say Thank You for my help, J offered to give me a haircut. I finally took her up on it, and was absolutely astonished at her skill level.
But you can’t keep getting free haircuts for life, simply because you brought an ice bucket down the stairs for a few weeks. So I started paying for them and was a little surprised at the cost.
Mr. 1500 note: Just a little surprised? (Mrs. 1500 rebuttal: Be quiet)
We talked about color, because my hair is a not-beautiful shade of brown. In addition to being an amazing stylist, J is a master colorist.
So this last appointment included color, too. I never asked what it would be beforehand, which was my fault. I was a little surprised when I went up to the desk and she said $127. Plus I have to tip, which is a story for another day. So I walked out with $152.
Mr. 1500 note: $152 for a haircut?? What? Huh!? How did this happen? What has the world come to? Arrrrgh!!!!
I bought a shaver for $18 ten years ago. I cut my hair once per month, so my little Wahl has given me 120 haircuts at a bargain price:
$18/120 haircuts = $.15/cut
At $152, Mrs. 1500’s haircuts are 1000 times more expensive than mine! Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!!!
I am not known for my style, and I went out that night and the next and got boatloads of compliments on my cut, which literally never happens because it’s always in a pony tail and it never really looks all that good. It’s just hair. (Mrs. 1500 note: Hey Mr. 1500. When was the last time someone complimented you on your haircut?!? Actually, maybe I shouldn’t talk smack about it, I’m the one who cuts it…)
I totally love my hair, but Mr. 1500 totally did NOT love the price, as evidenced above with his ridiculous ranting. But I only go every 6 months and spend $0 on hair products in between visits.
But $300/year is a lot of money to my frugal heart.
But it looks so good. This is in my Top 5 Greatest Haircuts of All Time. Maybe Top 3.
So, how much do you spend on haircuts?
Post Script: My sister was here over Thanksgiving, and she is not a frugal person – although she is making more of an effort based on what she had heard me preach for the last 40 years. When I asked her what she spends on a haircut, I was really hoping to be validated. Instead, she told me she spends $35, but will go up to $45 if she really likes the stylist. Doh!
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