The Cost of Happiness

November 27, 2010
By LizaW. GOLD, Glenview, Illinois
LizaW. GOLD, Glenview, Illinois
17 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Now, open your wallets and estimate how much happiness you can afford. Ridiculous right? Yes... and no. It's true; money can't buy happiness. Emotions, joy, success, love, can't be bought even with all the world's treasures. However, it's not hard to argue that money tends to make happiness a bit easier to achieve. As a study in Princeton has proved, now there's a price that represents the entering of the domain of happiness. That number? $75,000 a year. However, we wonder the limits of this research. How do we then describe the emotions felt by a mother in a poor country as she carries her newborn baby in her arms? Her family probably lives on less than $100 a year. Is what the mother feeling not happiness because her income is lower than what we have prescribed as the cost of happiness? No, not at all, but when you think about the situation in a stretch of time money does become a concern. How will the situation play out? How will the mother support the child?

However, Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman says it the way we need to hear it, "High incomes don't bring you happiness, but they do bring you a life you think is better." There are so many degrees of happiness, some unfortunately with a price tag, but others have a forced price tag associated with it. When we think of the number of times we go to the doctor, think we got sick, or we did get sick, it's unimaginable how we would be able to go on without our financial support. It's at times a bit disappointing when we have to allow financial limitations to block us from getting happiness. However, I think that saying that is far from admitting that only with the 75K will you be happy. Since you could be piled in riches and yet lead a very sorrowful and lonely life. The truth is that we let media and the surface of things determine happiness for us at times. When we see celebrities advertising bags, clothing, and accessories, we associate them with their seemingly happy life. Sure they shouldn’t be denied their happiness, but should we be developing stereotypes that decide factors that equate to happiness? We need to realize that the surface of anything reflects both lies and the truth. There's a reason why happiness cannot be placed in a box and fall into the possession of one person, it's because it's attainable, by everyone. So what is the cost of happiness? Immeasurable.

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