Finding happiness in all the right places

Front and center in the NYTimes Business section on Sunday is an article on money and happiness. Your Money or Your Life came out in 1992 at a time when marketers had cleverly severed our brains from our wallets. We were promised that products bring happiness but rarely questioned the assumption. The book was a wake up call for millions. It was updated and reissued in 2008 – at the launch of the recession. Seems the economic downturn plus  the upturn in the new science of happiness is getting our heads screwed on right. Finally. Article author Stephanie Rosenbloom reports marketing analysts say that… “the next generation that comes along is not so interested in spending way their predecessors did. The are adopting a different attitude of living more simply.” In the next weeks I’ll be unpacking the information in the article… and adding new. In the Fall I’ll begin my series on Happiness 101– the science, politics, practice and purpose of happiness. It’s gaining legitimacy as the new bottom line, and the neuroscience is helping that happen. And Bhutan (see older posts on Gross National Happiness GNH)


Turning sin into satisfaction – Vicki’s Pleasure Principle

Why did you buy that? Buy That? Buy that? Why?Yum!

Why indeed. What’s behind our consumer behavior – be it consuming stuff or websites or fads or cookies or the latest hot speaker (oops, would that be me?)?

We say: it was my color, I heard such good things about him/it/them, I was hungry/bored/curious, it was for my PhD research/husband/recipe. Yes… but… let’s look deeper. Could it be that we “buy” it because of very human yet rarely spoken about emotions. Like envy, gluttony or regret. She had one and I wanted one too. I can have whatever I want and you can’t stop me. How can I fix the past?

While these are hard to admit, they are also keys to happiness… by turning them on their heads, looking for the possibilities for pleasure within the pain. Ugh. Masochism? Nope, read on. Continue reading

This is what 65 looks like

Okay, I can’t resist. Just turned 65, which has many benefits. The local movie is $2 off. It’s half off to take the ferry as a foot passenger. Medicare gives me twice the coverage as before – for half the cost. Beyond the financial, though, this cultural passage into “senior citizen” has me celebrating Life – as this photo taken at my birthday party celebrated with my improvisational theater troupe attests …I am simply grateful to be alive. Six years ago I had a 45% chance of even being here, according to the cancer docs.

I am also grateful that the artist and comedienne in me is having a go at running my life, and the entrepreneur is getting the freedom to start and run a business (the VeRA, Vicki Robin and Associates Teleclass School), even as the activist keeps on keeping on (now with the Transition Movement

So lift a glass with me and toast all of us shedding old skins … and putting on day-glo glitter.

Inexplicably moved

Today I received a tote bag from Penguin, publisher of Your Money or Your Life. Our book (meaning the authors but also everyone who has helped it reach a large public) has been selected as one of the top 75 books Penguin has published in 75 years. You can even go on this website and vote for your favorite. Not to say you like Your Money or Your Life more than Moby Dick or Eat, Pray, Love or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest– but you might.

The tote bag is printed with all the spines of all 75 books. Seeing Your Money or Your Life there among truly the literary stars almost got me crying. Continue reading

John Robbins tells it like it is

John Robbins, a speaker in the Conscious Money Speakers Series recently wrote The New Good Life. One Chapter is in fact his recapitulation of Your Money or Your Life. Read the following interview in the U.S. News and World Report and get inspired all over agains:

U.S. News & World Reports interviewed me recently about my latest book, The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less.  They have so far run two short pieces, one on intergenerational childcare and one on recovering from financial loss. Continue reading

An idea for paying your personal carbon tax

I just paid my “carbon sin tax” for all my globetrotting in the last year. I put 24 tons of carbon into the atmosphere and I decided to donate my “tax” to a local Land Trust purchase of a square mile of forest on the island where i live. You could do the calculation and donate to a conservation project in your community. Or beyond. Feel free to steal the idea. Even the writing 🙂 Continue reading

How are you adapting to the Long Recession?

In February the NYTimes began a series about how strapped Americans are addressing the Long Recession.  “Even as the American economy shows tentative signs of a rebound, the human toll of the recession continues to mount, with millions of Americans remaining out of work, out of savings and nearing the end of their unemployment benefits.” Thus begins the first article in the series.

I’m very interested in two things:

1. How ARE you adapting, adjusting, rethinking, retooling, reschooling, etc.? And to what? Foreclosure? Job loss? Moving to follow the money? Please post comments below so we all can learn from your stories, no matter where you are in the process.

2. If you’ve heeded Your Money or Your Life in some way, has it made a difference in these hard times?  I has for me… Continue reading

OMG – This wraps enoughness and happiness and freedom into one sweet bundle

Please enjoy this TED talk by Daniel Gilbert. And then I’ll tell you why it is for me a most delicious 18 minutes.

In the years between the second edition of Your Money or Your Life (1998) and the third which was a rewrite (2008), a lot happened in my life.  I spent half a decade taking more stabs at large scale social change: Continue reading

John deGraaf and Vicki Robin at the VT Gross National Happiness Conference

Well, Melinda Tuhus did me/us a great favor by summarizing the workshop John deGraaf and I did at the Gross National Happiness conference. Please check out this link as it has a lot of very good information in it about John’s “Take Back Your Time” work… and a decent picture of moi.