Will a “new one” make you happy?

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How often do you yearn for something just because it is “new”?

I was watching the Israeli movie “Jellyfish” yesterday and one of the characters commented to another, according to the subtitles anyway, “If I get you a new one, will you be happy?”

The comment struck me so much that I quickly wrote it down on a scrap of paper, realizing it might also resonate with others.

Our entire commercial culture rests fully on the idea that a “new one” — no matter what the specifics are — will make us happy. We learn at an early age to be dissatisfied and discontented with our “old” toy or clothes and want what we see on television, in a magazine, newspaper or catalog that comes in the mail. We see the displays in the stores, and we point to the new things, full of yearning for them. We start to connect “new” with magical powers to make us happy.

And even when we realize that the new toy or dress didn’t really change our life that much, the realization doesn’t stop us from always looking for the wonderful new things that will bring us joy.

I’m not saying to stop all buying and sadly make do with what you’ve got. But when you’re stressed out about finances, as so many people are, and you’re rushing to buy happiness in the form of new clothes or a new television you don’t really need, stop that impulsive purchase before you rack up more debt that you can’t afford.

Learn to look at “things” for what they are — enjoy having a new outfit, but only if it’s something that you have the money to buy. Ask yourself if the fun of buying something new is really the thrill you want — and if so, then buy something cheap! Get a new pen or a Chapstick. Scale down the price tag to something that won’t break your account. Have fun doing cheap things with friends like window shopping at the mall while eating a $2 pretzel.

For a lot of folks, the challenge they face is how to still have a good time without getting into trouble with their credit cards. Leave the cards at home, take only the cash you can spare, and treat yourself to an outing that doesn’t cost much. Most cities have parks where you can stroll around and enjoy the free music or entertainment.  Look it up online or in your local community paper — find the museums that have a free day monthly, and plan to go for a visit. You’ll enrich yourself, without breaking the bank.

your happiness guru,

Evelyn Brooks

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