What I Learned about Happiness from my dishwasher, a catalog, and YouTube

What I Learned about Happiness from my dishwasher, a catalog, and YouTube

Update: the original video was removed from YouTube, but someone posted a better one on Vimeo. Here it is.

Update again: the Vimeo one is gone now too. But Daily Motion has it.

“Everything is amazing and nobody is happy” by Meowbay

So true. I see myself being like that too. I get all irritated with the dishwasher when something won’t fit in there or a bowl has a few specks of food remaining after the cycle. Somehow I forgot that just two short years ago I had to wash all of my dishes by hand and it took forever. Now I have this magic box that I put the dirty dishes and some soap into, push a few buttons and, tada, clean dishes.

It turns out there’s a name that people in lab coats made up for this phenomenon: Hedonic Adaptation. The rest of us call it taking what you have for granted.  I’ve been thinking about this lately.

So, on Saturday morning I noticed we had a new Patagonia catalog that came in the mail. They have the coolest outdoorsy clothes and people that looked like they were having such fun in exotic places. The marketing was working, I started to feel bad about myself for not having those things. Then it occurred to me that what I really wanted was to be outdoors enjoying myself like those people appeared to be. The clothes were merely incidental. So, we packed up the kids and the backpacks and headed for some trails near our home.

It was a beautiful day. We forgot to bring the camera. I don’t even remember what I wore.

3 thoughts on “What I Learned about Happiness from my dishwasher, a catalog, and YouTube

  1. Every little bit helps one keep perspective. Today a hike, tomorrow the bike. Your ability to recognize this Hedonic Adaptation and attempt to break free helps you believe that you are still making the decisions, and you are. Your desire to break free from the habits of life is your true gift. There will always be those who can contrive some type of a scenario that supports an opinion that you have inadvertently created a new trap. I think they are just trying to justify their own Hedonic Adaptations. Good for you.

  2. The A/C is broken. The layout of your house isn’t perfect. My neighbor calls these, “First-world problems.” Sometimes it is hard for me to be grateful that I don’t have to deal with third-world problems.

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