Happiness is an odd emotion. Some days you have to go through something painful or unpleasant to arrive at being happy. Having done several things that take some effort to complete for example National Novel Writing Month, I get that the pain while doing something can often result in something that makes you happy in the long run.
Then of course I also get a reminder of this lesson every year during our annual cherry day. Cherry day? Yes, cherry day. At my house I have a sour cherry tree in the backyard that most years gets lots of cherries growing on it and every year we pick the majority of the tree (there are some branches you just can’t reach safely even with a ladder) and then pit several hundred cherries (it could be a thousand, for my sanity I have never counted them).
So you might be asking why on earth anyone would put in about 20 man hours of labour into this annual event? Well after a very long day, my wife and I put at least four large freezer bags full of cherries in the freezer which later on in the summer or fall I will take out, defrost and then make sour cherry wine.
Now after doing this for about six times now I have managed to produce a very good bottle of wine. Actually a friend of ours commented it was just as good as a local winery that also makes something similar and that cost around $20/bottle. So given my raw fruit is free other than our labour and the cost of the sugar and yeast is minor, my costs are around $1 or $2 per bottle. So technically there is some degree of cost savings to doing this labour every year.
Yet that isn’t the real reason I do it. In fact, the money savings is sort of secondary. The fact we go through this labour every year is the satisfaction of making a good bottle of wine from the very fruit that grows in my backyard. In sort, the results result in enough happiness that both my wife and I agree that we keep doing this every year. Of course it helps that there is something very enjoyable about opening a bottle that contains the very taste of summer in the middle of December.
Of course this is likely why I can save as much as we have towards our retirement, I fully understand the idea that a bit of work today can go a long way to being happy in the future.
So what do you do that takes some effort that results in something that makes you happy?