Days of Happiness: Day Twenty-Seven

Days of Happiness: Day Twenty-Seven

The 30 days of Happy Thoughts series is inspired by the International Day of Happiness (March 20th, 2017).

Today’s Motivational Video

Today’s Happy Thought

National Nutrition Month® Tidbits

March is also National Nutrition Month®! Eating healthy is important to your happiness too!

Check out this week’s game here.

Check out this week’s NNM video here.

Day of Happiness Celebrations: Q&A

Happiness means different things to different people, what does Happiness mean to you? 

Happiness to me is:

  • Being comfortable with the decisions I’ve made with few regrets. I try to learn from past mistakes but regret is counterproductive.
  • The freedom to make my own choices and control my life as much possible. This can be the result of luck, preparation and work, and it is one of the most important indicators of happiness to me. No one will mistake me for Mr. Rogers or Bob Ross, but I am generally optimistic. I almost always believe that things will work out. Often I take action to influence an outcome, and that influence happiness.


Do you believe happiness is an emotion or more of a state of mind?

Great question. My first reaction was that happiness is a passive emotion, and that’s probably true to a small extent. But I think happiness is a state of mind that we influence.  For instance, when surrounded by negative, whiny people, I get grumpy and negative myself. So by minimizing contact with these people I am directly controlling my state of mind. Maybe “happy” should be used as a verb, like so many other former nouns in modern business vernacular. If we can “source” some wood to build a shelf, or if we can “message” something to our teams, then why can’t we “happy” ourselves into contentment?

People living in the worst poverty or with terrible illness can be happy, and wealthy people can be miserable. A quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln sums it up: “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be”.


Do you consider being happy important to you? Why?

Absolutely.  As I said above, I believe that we play a large part in determining our own happiness.  We only get a short time on this planet, so why waste it grumbling and complaining like Eyore? I try to spend my time doing what I want to do and minimizing things that I “have” to do.


What do you consider a fundamental barrier to Happiness in your life?

When I expose myself to too much news and media, my outlook suffers. Mrs. Grumby and I purposely went on a low information diet a couple of years ago and that made a huge difference in our outlook. We decided that can stay informed without subjecting ourselves to nonstop “breaking news” and fear-mongering that sells papers and attracts viewers.


How important is wealth and money to your own happiness? 

Money is very important because it enhances my freedom. It is a means to an end, a tool that allows me to travel and enjoy the life that I want. We have both been fortunate to have earned good incomes over the years, and due to Mrs. Grumby’s natural frugality and discipline, we saved enough to retire 12 years (me) and 19 years (Mrs. G) earlier than most people. That is a huge benefit.

I will say, however, that some of the best times and experiences I have had were when I was broke. I took an amazing three-month dirt-bag road trip to Alaska in 1992 with just a few hundred dollars to my name. When I was in college, I worked nights and weekends to pay for peanut butter, Pringles, beer and tuition. It was great!

I can be relatively content regardless of my financial situation, but having money opens up many possibilities.

The word “wealth” is often used to describe status based on fancy possessions and supposed financial resources. In that respect, wealth is not important to me. I don’t give a crap about impressing anyone with expensive cars or Tag Heuer watches.


How important is health and wellness to happiness? 

Health and wellness are more important that wealth and money. Mrs. G and I are very active and eat as healthily as possible. This lifestyle gives us a much better chance at doing the things we like to do, like riding our bikes and hiking. If I had a trillion dollars but was out of shape and sick, I’d be miserable. Speaking of wellness, Mrs. Grumby began daily meditation about two years ago and her sense of well being has increased, and she has seen a dramatic reduction in some chronic pain she was experiencing. I am learning how to meditate and have already seen benefits, although I kind of suck at it at this point.


What has been the happiest moment in your life?

I have been very lucky in my life, so this is a hard one. Our destination wedding in Homer, Alaska with a few friends and family members was great. The reception that followed a couple months later in Portland was also fantastic. There are many.



Do you have any specific goals or resolutions for 2017?  If so, would your share your top two that directly relate to your own Pursuit of Happiness?

One important goal this year is to continue divesting nonessential possessions in preparation for our early retirement date in May of 2018. The post-retirement plan is to ride our bicycles all over the US, and maybe beyond for a couple of years when we retire, so it will be important that we store only what is absolutely necessary.

A second goal for me is to try to appreciate the moment. That sounds a bit new agey for me, but I tend to focus on what’s next and forget to be in the moment.


Do you consider giving to others or charity work an important part of your own Pursuit and why?

We donate to several organizations that resonate with us and we also do some volunteer work. This year we will probably establish a Donor Advised Fund (DAF), which is kind of a mini trust fund that we establish from which donations to qualified charities can be made.


What 2 things have you learned in your own pursuit that you would like to share with others?

  1. Simplify your life by reducing spending and time spent on unfulfilling tasks and work. If I could go back 20 years I would forego new cars and lifestyle spending, and would instead save aggressively for F-you money (a term coined by Jim Collins as the amount of money you need to leave your job if necessary, without going broke).
  2. In his great novel Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry wrote “The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters.” Choose to be happy and you will be. Surround yourself with positive people and know what you are grateful for. Be an optimist. Use happy as a verb. Ok, maybe not that last one.


If you could recommend only three websites/books/articles to anyone reading this, what would they be, and why?

  1. Money Mustache was the first blog that really resonated with me. I devoured his entire blog, 3 or 4 years worth of posts, in a couple of weeks and shared it with my wife. Although we were already pretty frugal, this blew us away and it really changed our lives. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It was life changing. There are many other excellent, well-written and informative FI/Lifestyle blogs out there as well.
  2. The Simple Path to Wealth, by Jim Collins, who writes a well-known FI blog. If happiness is associated with simplification, and I say is, this book and his blog present logical and simple strategies for anyone to manage their portfolios without expensive money financial planners.
  3. Mrs. Grumby is an avid fan of No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nahat Hanh. This book was the catalyst to starting her meditation practice. One of his quotes is, “The secret to happiness is to acknowledge and transform suffering, not to run away from it.”


What is your blog/website address and theme (if you want to share) for 2017?

Grumbys on the Move – Our Adventures in Downsizing is the story of how we began re-mapping our route to the American Dream by questioning commonly held beliefs about home ownership, possessions and priorities. We have downsized our stuff and upsized our portfolio and happiness. 2017 will focus on plans for our upcoming early retirement date (early 2018!) and some frugal travel plans.

We are in our mid-40’s (Mrs.) and early 50’s (Mr.) and plan to exit the workforce in mid 2018. We began our lives together as Mr. and Mrs. Grumby in 2008 with a retirement portfolio of $80,000 and home equity of about $200,000.  After paying off our final non-mortgage debt of $40,000 (Mr.Grumby’s student loan) in 2009, we started looking into ways to save aggressively so that we could ditch the 9-5 before we’re 65.  Over the past 8 years we have been very fortunate to earn salaries that have allowed us to meet our aggressive savings goals. And because we focus on managing and prioritizing expenses, it is totally do-able to enjoy ourselves along the way. 

Need more Happy?

Check out TPOH.NEWS featuring Happiness Articles from around the web


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