Saturday, March 16, 2013

Buying happiness: quality housing

My apartment was brand new when I moved into it, nearly six years ago.  It has many improvements over my previous apartment (which was built in the 1970s).  I have big windows (and I face east and am above the building next door), so I enjoy direct sunlight that helps my circadian rhythms. I have a washer and dryer in my actual suite, which means I don't have to schlep down to the basement three times per load of laundry, or hoard quarters and loonies, or worry about what I'm going to wear while I do laundry. I have a dishwasher, which means that my least favourite chore (apart from exercise and pest control) is completely eliminated.  And, speaking of pest control, I average one bug a year here, compared with one bug every two months in my old place and several bugs a month in student housing.  Since a bug equals a panic attack, this is a revelation.  Making rent is always tight, and I can't think of anything I'd rather be spending it on.

This is why I will never be convinced that money can't buy happiness.  I've bought a near-elimination of panic attacks, and of the tedium of two major chores, as well as a sunlight pattern that helps adapt my circadian rhythms to the realities of everyday life.

All of this sounds disgustingly privilegey, but this is why I'm so opposed to the N2 rent increase exemption - it puts the quality of life I enjoy further and further out of the reach of more and more Ontarians (which might include me eventually if I hadn't bought a condo - my rent has always increased at a greater rate than my salary).  I've benefited so much from buying this happiness that I want to to be affordable to everyone.


laura k said...

From your money-buying-happiness posts, I've thought a lot about that platitude. I've come to the conclusion that money doesn't buy happiness when you have enough money to meet all your needs and wants - meaning, if all your wants and needs are met, and you're still not happy, more money won't get you there. But when you lack the resources to meet your needs, money does most definitely buy happiness.

Maybe what people mean is money can't fix all your problems. But man, it sure can fix many of the worst kinds of problems. The unregulated cost of housing is the perfect example.

I'm still trying to write about this myself.

impudent strumpet said...

In the shower this morning, it occurred to me that maybe they mean you can't buy happiness in and of itself, i.e. walk to the store and pick up milk, eggs, and happiness. You have to know what will make you happy.

Although that doesn't make sense either because the real intention of the saying is "You have/don't have money? So what? Money isn't going to make you happy."

impudent strumpet said...

(Not to mention that, even if you're in a place where more money won't make you any happier, the presence of not-strictly-necessary money isn't going to make you unhappy.)

laura k said...

That shower-thought is very clever. I never thought of it that way. I don't think that's what people mean, though.

Amazingly (to me), more money for the very rich does seem to lead to unhappiness, and maybe that is a clue to what people mean by this platitude. An over-attachment to material things, and a dependence on material goods for happiness, often makes people very unhappy - buying, buying, buying, yet feeling empty and unfulfilled. To which the response is more buying.

impudent strumpet said...

Conclusion: they're shopping wrong.

laura k said...

I think they're shopping too much.