Hedonistic Paradox (39th Birthday)

Posted by dwallace on August 27, 2013 in Birthday, Hedonistic Paradox |

Today is my 39th Birthday.

My little girl told me yesterday, “Daddy, I’m so happy it’s your birthday tomorrow. I can’t wait for your party.”

“I’m not having a party,” I said.

She looked perplexed and said, “Why not? Don’t you want to have some presents?”

“I’m turning 39,” I said. “Most people don’t have a party at that age.”

“But you’re not going to be happy if you don’t have a party,” she said. “Then I won’t be happy either.”

Through multiple conversations throughout the day, I stumbled on the idea of the Hedonistic Paradox. This idea and philosophy has been around for thousands of years.

I’m not a trained philosopher, but the more I hear about ideas that the ancients had, the more I know I really don’t know shit. (I also wonder why schools don’t make us study more philosophy. They’ve already asked and answered all the big questions and they didn’t even have the internet.)

Basically the Hedonistic Paradox states that, the more you try to focus on happiness (or pleasure) the less likely you are to receive it. Happiness in itself shouldn’t be the goal. Pursuing things that make you happy should be.

Here is a clip: click here

So after researching this topic for a couple of hours, I have concluded that these are a few things that bring me happiness:

Hanging out with family and friends
Playing pool
Riding my bike
Playing music—guitar, ukulele and even the radio
A good meal (Seafood and Steak especially)
Beer–specifically a glass of Indian Pale Ale with a small glass of American Honey—three ice cubes and a splash of water
Sex (Hey, you can’t have a hedonistic list without this one, right?)
Hot Rods
A good view, especially one that involves overlooking a body of water
Trail running
Talking to a stranger, usually about things you wouldn’t tell someone you know
The Ocean—especially the Pacific
Shooting clay birds
Riding 4-wheelers with my daughter
Riding horses
Driving fast down a windy-road
Drag races
Poetry slams
Rap battles
Watching really big waves roll in
Going on a float trip
BBQ–preferably from Kansas City, St. Louis or Memphis
Spicy food
French Cheese

I’m sure there’s at least 100 other things I could think of, but these are the ones that came to me. Notice that most of them cost very little money, or are free.

You also might have noticed that work wasn’t on the list, which has just inspired a few more:

Vacation time
And sleep in general

And now I’m actually looking forward to my birthday party, because as I was forming the idea for this post, my mom called to say she’s taking me, my wife and my daughter out to dinner for my birthday. So I will get to have a few things marked off from this list tonight, mainly: hanging out with family, having a good meal with seafood, steak and beer. Yummmmm! And who knows, maybe even a little sex?

F-the-Hedonistic Paradox. I’m looking forward to tonight and I’ve decided that I’m going to feel happy about it in advance.

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