I am a true believer in Daniel Gilbert's (Stumbling on Happiness) premise that happiness consists of a series of small joys scattered throughout the day. If I deny myself the fractional rewards I rely on for my mini-thrills, what will I find to replace them? I'm not willing to choose unhappiness in order to balance my ecological footprint with the rest of the world, so I will have to find a substitute to the easy joys I've entertained myself with. I could name them, but you probably know what they are. They range from a freshly-brewed cup of steaming espresso in a cozy atmosphere bundling tasteful decor with relaxing music to a zen-inspired bottle of ridiculously fragrant bubble bath promising many nights of sensory intoxication.
But what acts do I commit which actually have a negative impact on my joy quotient? One of the purchases I immediately mourned was art magazines. The library doesn't carry my favorites, and even if they did, I *need* to hoard every issue to collect all those sparks of creativity, like fireflies in a jar. Upon reflection I think that these magazines actually detract from my happiness. Although I eschew television and music videos for their unrelenting focus on what we don't have and what our lives are not, aren't my pretty art magazines guilty of the same crime? They're really quite depressing when I poll my memory. All the art I haven't made, all the artists more talented than me, all the juicy art supplies that might transform me into a "real" artist. Not only do "I want that" but add "I want to have made that" to the mix. I'm entirely better off without them. Who knew?