Today I took my truck to Jiffy Lube to get serviced. It's a 2001 GMC Yukon with 215,000 miles on it. I bought it from my father-in-law for $1000 earlier this year. It's the car I drive 80% of the time. I really like driving it.
I asked one of the guys how long he thinks the Yukon might last. He said he's seen GMC and Chevys come through with 300,000 miles, but once he saw a Honda with 700,000 miles. He said its owner took very good care of it, always taking it in for maintenance at the right time.
He also told me about an Audi owner who came in once, whose car was in terrible shape. He had been neglecting it. The guy goes, "dude, you have a $90,000 car."
When I drove my humble Yukon home, I felt deeply satisfied that I had spent the time and money to take care of my car and help it last longer. I felt content and secure.
Sometimes I see a Porsche or Audi on the road and get seduced, thinking "man that would be a nice car to have." And indeed, I could go buy one tomorrow, and the engine would sound awesome... but would I be any happier?
I think there's a very important life lesson in this conversation I had with Danny, and it's not about car maintenance; it's about happiness. I can pretty much guarantee that the lady who owned that Honda was enjoying her life more than the Audi driver.
Happiness is hard to universally define, but to me it's the feeling of satisfaction with one's life: appreciating what you have and always looking forward to tomorrow. Another word for it is fulfillment.
There's some point between poverty and wealth where all of one's needs are met, and one can be satisfied with that. There's joyful stability in reaching that point and staying there, wherever that may be for you.
Happiness is the state of mind where you don't need more.