When our great country was created, the founding fathers believed that all people had the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” No one should have to struggle, and every person has the ability, and the right and responsibility, to live life to your fullest potential. Since that day in 1776, the idea of happiness has changed and adapted. You can’t even begin to plan for happiness until you have a good paying job, a wonderful place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear. However, don’t you want a life that you can be happy and excited about all the time? All it takes is meeting these basic needs, and finding places to indulge. Even on a budget, you can find a perfect place to live, gain a sense of safety and security, and have extra time and money, to spend on and with the people who matter most in your life. As the quote says, never be so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life!
Covering the Basics
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs states that there is a pyramid to happiness and finding your self-actualized fulfillment. The bottom of the pyramid covers your basic needs: food, water, shelter, etc. So, to live happily and fully, you first need to find a place to do so! Apartment or house hunting is not always a simple task. However, there are many resources to help you find a comfortable and safe place to begin making the perfect life for yourself. In the digital age, this search, like so many other things, is easy and painless, thanks to the internet.
Fiigure out where you want to live. Are you someone who wants to keep up with the hustle and bustle of a big city? Or, would you prefer staying somewhere closer to the country? Are you looking at a ranch in Wyoming, or condominiums in Boulder, CO? The world is your oyster! Find an exciting place that makes you happy. Familiar, joyful spaces give you a sense of belonging. If you enjoy where you live, you’re destined to be happy. Having your own space is your first step to building a full life.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Making Sure You’re Safe
We all know there are many factors that go into building a great life. Safety should be one of these number one priorities. Miami, FL may sound great, but you must be aware of hurricane season. The Redwood forest in California sounds like a dream, until you analyze the impact of wildfire-related particulates. Of course, nowhere in the world is 100% safe and secure all the time. However, you must keep these factors in mind for yourself and your family. If we continue following Maslow’s hierarchy, the next branch is security and safety. You can’t start living to your full potential if the stress of keeping yourself safe weighs on you.
Enjoy on a Budget
As we continue further up in the pyramid, we move into psychological needs, such as ways to engage with the community around you and satisfy your soul by participating in fun activities. A common misconception is that you can only indulge if you’re wealthy. However, many ways exist for you to enjoy the world around you, even on a budget. If the next level to finding happiness involves finding people you love and value to enjoy and live life with, those relationships and friendships will flourish and grow, no matter how you spend your time.
Also, there is no shame in taking advantage of sales, clearance prices, and special deals. If you throw a party in New York City, get your snacks from Aldi, and your alcohol from the liquor outlet of Lawrenceville, NJ. In all honesty, no one ever knows the difference. Buy in bulk, borrow books and movies, and shop at thrift stores; they usually have trendier items, anyway. You don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy your life, those you live it with, and the world around you. You simply need some creativity and excitement to follow wherever the day takes you!
Allowing Yourself to Indulge
When finding places to cut back, don’t forget that it is acceptable for you to choose some exciting events and let yourself splurge. Go back to that constant reminder that you can’t be so busy making a living, worrying about your future, or hoarding your cash that you forget to live a life and enjoy opportunities. Be smart, but if you know something brings you joy, it’s okay to indulge and splurge, in moderation. Is your favorite Broadway show coming to town? Buy the tickets, and enjoy that experience. Do you have the opportunity to travel to Disney World for the weekend? Go ahead; make those magical memories. Can your friend score you some affordable Yankees tickets right behind the dugout? Have fun watching the players spit and yell with glee after a home run! Budgets are important, but no one likes a miser. Ebenezer Scrooge lived a miserable life hoarding all his money and property, until he realized the true value of charity and sharing joyful experiences.
You’re on Your Way
As we get to the tip of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we come to the final point -- being one hundred percent content with yourself, and the life you have created. You did it! You can find fulfillment in so many different aspects of life, and it’s never the the same for every person. Find what makes you happy, and where you want to be. Choose things you want to indulge in and the things you don’t. The road to a happy life winds and readjusts. So, you must be prepared to do the same. Live in such a way that you wake up every morning excited for the day to come, and thrilled to be in the pursuit of happiness.