Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Happiness Budget

A few weeks ago I read at the Ode Magazine Web site about towns in the Netherlands who are giving their residents a happiness budget. At first I was troubled by the idea of using money to buy happiness. But then I read the article again. The people who designed this experience were not inviting people to buy a bunch of stuff. Instead, the purpose of the money was to encourage people to invest in projects that bring them happiness.

I immediately thought about my birthday purchase—a new bike. I'd been wanting one for years. The last time I had a new bike, I was a college student. I felt exhilarated when I got on my new bike for the first time. What a sense of freedom! This purchase fits with the happiness budget idea. It provides me with both transportation and a tool for exercise (a major happiness booster). Plus, it's pretty! :-) 

Next Monday, I'll be taking my daughter to the hospital for a two-week stay. She'll be working with the feeding team at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. She's been having tube feedings since February of 2008. We're hoping that she will be able to leave the hospital and maintain her weight (and even grow!) without needing tube feedings. 

During our hospital stay, my daughter will have three meals each day with the feeding team. Aside from that, we will have little else to do. We've been talking about how we can use our own happiness budget to better the hospital stay and help other people. We're hoping to make something we can give away to children who need them. 

We're still in the planning stages, but we will both be blogging during the stay. So check back here for updates on how the happiness budget works for us!

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