Back in the day, my family used to watch TV shows together. Especially the prime time shows…Three’s Company, Wonder Woman, The Jeffersons, Love Boat, Seinfeld, Friends. All five of us, parents and three girls would gather around the sofa and laugh and laugh. Even my super serious and super cranky Dad! Saturday mornings were sacred for us kids. We watched shows like the Justice League, Buck Rogers, Scooby Doo…on Saturday mornings eating our Cocoa Puffs.
Nowadays, my kids watch YouTube, DVR TV shows and binge watch Netflix. It is such a different world. They are in constant virtual contact with their friends via group texts, FaceTime and social media. Everything they watch is ready and available and they don’t need to wait. I used to program our VCR for my favorite shows and MTV video premieres. I get it. But there are so many shows out there, that it is impossible to keep up with all of them. Some of my friends are addicted to Bravo, some to HBO and others to Netflix.
Luckily for us, my kids both recently discovered Stranger Things and The Office. So now, all four of us have a show that we can watch together (we fast forward the inappropriate teenager parts for my 10 yr old with Stranger Things). There is common ground and content that can work for the whole family. It takes a little bit of research and a lot of patience.
As a teenager in the 80’s, I eagerly awaited my Interview magazine every month. Andy Warhol founded this oddly elongated and very stylish magazine. The advertisements were amazing…Valentino, Absolut Vodka, Calvin Klein. The pages featured everything and everyone that was cool at the time. Cristy, Naomi, Linda, Cindy…I was really taken with one particular brand called “Organically Grown”. I dragged my mom to shop for clothes with this label. My first pair of Organically Grown shorts cost $32. The was quite expensive back then. I was so happy and wore those silly shorts everywhere for a long, long time. Izod shirt, my new shorts and penny loafers were my uniform and brought me pure happiness and joy. I felt invincible in that outfit cracking my Hubba Bubba bubble gum, listening to The Clash on my Sony MegaBass Walkman.
These days, I don’t get the same thrill with buying things, clothes or anything else for that matter. Happiness is so different in my 40’s. Both my sisters and many friends like designer labels. I can’t imagine what the inventory of designer goods adds up to even in one of their closets. Don’t get me wrong, I like nice things too, but I just don’t get that feeling I used to get in my younger days. Spending $1,200 on shoes doesn’t bring me elation. I have bought many overpriced items only to realize that I don’t feel any happier with them. My mom tells me I have become “an old lady” just like her. I don’t have a desire to acquire things anymore. Maybe it is a characteristic of getting older.
These days, I like feeling good. That brings me happiness. Nowadays, long runs make me feel like I’m invincible. And not being injured is priceless. Cooking keeps me content. And illustrating lets me express myself. My kids make me feel young again. My husband makes me feel appreciated (…in his own way…that’s another post). My parents make me feel important. And my friends make me laugh and laugh at my lame jokes. Excellent coffee and a really good margarita also make me happy!
I have become a minimalist. Simple things and being content really do bring me happiness.