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‘Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the enjoyment of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.’

Franklin D Roosevelt, US President 1933-1945

What a massive load of stuff we collect! We all do it, rarely pausing to think. We have cupboards full of junk we neither use nor need. Who is the winner here? Not us, that’s for sure. In report after report, the research says that we are unhappier than ever, although we have more stuff than we ever have.

The whole situation seems back to front. What is going on?

We can let you in on a secret here – no matter how hard you work, no matter how much social climbing you do, no matter how flash your car is, no matter how big your house is, no matter how big your wallet is – there will always be someone who is better, richer, bigger and more powerful than you.

Has the time come for us to get over it and be happy with what we have and live a happy and balanced life?

Take some time to ignore all that you have been programmed to do. Do something different. Write a letter to your mum and tell her how much you love her. Visit your granny with a bunch of flowers for no reason. Help a neighbour plant their veggie patch, plant your own.

When we all have even a short think we realise that real sacrifice wouldn’t be required. Living standards are not tied to consumption rates. Much of our consumption is wasteful and contributes little or nothing to our quality of life. Who are we kidding?

‘The fact of the matter is that today, stuff-selling mega-corporations have a huge influence on our daily lives. And because of the competitive nature of our global economy, these corporations are generally only concerned with one thing – the bottom line. That is, maximising profit, regardless of the social or environmental costs.’

David Suzuki

Have we got the balance right in our lives?