Everyone Defines Happiness Differently: What's Yours?

The holiday season is a time to be spent with our loved ones. But sometimes it can feel more like we’re going to our high-school reunion. Perceptions run deep, especially when you don’t see each other often. It’s not uncommon to have preconceived opinions of others that are defined by career path, education, background, wealth, looks, and social media.

This leads me to a story I’d like to share. It was the Christmas of 2000 and as usual the whole family met for the holiday feast. The eldest brother was 45, an information technology expert, and the youngest sister was 30, a social worker. There’s quite an age gap so the eldest brother decided to coach his little sister; which to him seemed like a good idea since he was a successful businessman. He said to her, “You need to stop being a social worker and find a new career path. There’s no money in it. You’re never going to get ahead!” 

What came next surprised everyone.

The little sister looked her brother square in the eye, and passionately said, “Exactly what do you have that I don’t have? You have a house, I have a house. You have a car, I have a car. You vacation, I vacation. You have friends, I have friends.” Then, after a long pause she asked once again, “Exactly what is it that you have that I don’t have?”

Whoa….the room went silent: she had a point!

Do we value money above our own happiness? Would we rather work in a career we’re not passionate about in order to drive a Mercedes versus a Ford? Is vacationing in Naples more fun than staying in with friends?

My little sister is now 45 years old. She’s still a social worker and is just as passionate today about her career choice as she was back then.

So, this holiday season, let’s focus on creating positive memories, embrace each other’s differences and recognize that everyone has their own definition of happiness and success. 

At Worley Erhart-Graves our financial planning is geared toward guiding you to have the best life possible based on your financial resources.

-       Written by: Gail Gill, CFP®, Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors