Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Medium Chill

This article (via Matt Yglesias) provides a blueprint I think I see my generation adopting, and something I think is admirable.

We now have a smallish house in a nondescript working class Seattle neighborhood with no sidewalks. We have one car, a battered old minivan with a large dent on one side where you have to bang it with your hip to make the door shut. Our boys go to public schools. Our jobs pay enough to support our lifestyle, mostly anyway. If we wanted, we could both do the "next thing" on our respective career paths. She could move to a bigger company. I could freelance more, angle to write for a bigger publications, write a book, hire a publicist, whatever. We could try to make more money. Then we could fix the water pressure in our shower, redo the back patio, get a second car, or hell, buy a bigger house closer in to town. Maybe get the kids in private schools. All that stuff people with more money than us do.

But ... meh. It's not that we don't think about those things. The water pressure thing drives me batty. Fact is, we just don't want to work that hard! We already work harder than we feel like working. We enjoy having time to lay around in the living room with the kids, reading. We like to watch a little TV after the kids are in bed. We like going to the park and visits with friends and low-key vacations and generally relaxing. Going further down our respective career paths would likely mean more work, greater responsibilities, higher stress, and less time to lay around the living room with the kids.
The point of the article is that it is social connections that make us happy, and tend to provide a more lasting happiness. I can say that it truly is my wife, family, and friends that provide 95% of the satisfaction in my life. Great events in your life are only great if you get to share them with important people. I hope I always remember that.

1 comment:

QCFM said...

Thanks for sharing this, Jim. I couldn't agree more. My Mom likes to say "The more things you own, the more things own you." It's hard sometimes to keep it low-key in an acquisitive culture, but it's worth it.


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