I was lucky enough to catch The xx at Summerstage in Central Park last Sunday after being away for a tournament. And by “catch,” I mean I sat/stood outside of the gates in a clearing in the trees and barely was able to see a sliver of stage.
There is something about being outside in semi-nature, enjoying live music, that makes me very very happy. Maybe it is the combination of being in a green, grassy park with the sun shining and breeze blowing, and good aural stimulation that just relaxes the mind and body. It could also be that outdoor concerts are associated with summer, which is a generally happy time of the year. Yay for Vitamin D!
This reminds me of a few things I’ve read in the past few months. First, there were some studies that looked at how consumers spent their money. They split this into 2 categories: material purchases and “experiential” purchases. The researchers found that the happiness that consumers felt from material purchases did not last as long as the happiness that they got from experiential purchases. For example, buying a massage or doing something with friends gives a longer lasting happiness than shopping for clothes or splurging on things.
Considering I didn’t even have to purchase a ticket to The xx’s concert, I’m really glad that I went! It has been good for my mental health this week.
Another good article is this one in the NY Times. It talks about similar ideas and a specific story about a couple who took it upon themselves to get rid of most of their belongings. The woman was able to get it down to 100 personal items, and they were able to move into a smaller apartment and pay off their $30K debt. The couple was also happier with their jobs and life in general because they were able to do more of the things they liked, like being outdoors, volunteering, and spending time with family.
I’m not ready yet to winnow down my belongings that much, but I would like to try to get rid of the possessions that I don’t necessarily need anymore. It is a difficult thing to do, though, but I have managed to clean out some clothes at least once a year. I do, however, find it particularly satisfying to find a use for something that I had been saving for a long time. This might be a different type of happiness. Maybe a happiness from solving some kind of puzzle? A puzzle of how to use randomly sized boxes and containers?
What experiences make you happy?
An interesting article on CNN about maximizing spending for happiness
What is it for you? The summer memories, summer weather, summer music, summer nostalgia…
When I listen to my favorite summer songs from the years, I feel an overwhelming happiness. I think about youth, playing in the grass, summer events like BBQing, going out to places like Coney Island, being with friends.
Why do I feel this attachment to this season? I have a distinct feeling of summer, a mood… What is it? What does it mean?
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Yesterday, we made a trip up to the Bronx to see the New York Botanical Garden. The weather was great and we got a lot of good pictures while walking around the garden. I didn’t get a chance to look in the Conservatory, but one day I’ll make it there some day. It would be cool to see all the pressed plant specimens in the herbarium, but those are off limits to the public.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures:
This post is coming after the first few real days of summer weather in New York City. This year’s season has been so far unusually mild, and wet (all of June, basically).
NYC’s climate is typically hot and humid by June, but from what I remember this past Thursday and Friday were the only significantly summer-like days so far.
I’m not sure what this means, or if climatologists have any idea if this is abnormal. But it seems unusual and is something that I feel is worth looking into. Post in the comments if you have any links to other interesting tidbits. I will continue to search for more information and hopefully can report back on it.
On July 3rd, I went to Fire Island off the coast of Long Island, NY. While we were there, we took some time to walk through the Sunken Forest, which is a several hundred year-old patch of forest that is protected from the ocean water by dunes.
Bogs! Just talking about them makes me cringe from thoughts of all the bugs that could bite me. Bogs are a type of wetland that is made up of acidic peat. Older bogs will have less water on the surface as the peat builds up. Eventually, the bog may fill up completely with peat and other matter and be completely solid.
I visited a bog when I was at Bucknell University for undergraduate and it was nearly completely covered in vegetation, but mostly shrubs and underbrush. We could stand on the bog and jump to make it undulate and move because underneath the peat was water. Next time I go back, it might be more solid because more peat has accumulated to absorb and overtake the water layer.
The boggy areas in the Sunken Forest had mostly trees that were tolerant to being soaked. The canopy was also pretty much closed with all the branches from the trees extending out quite far.
We took a lot of pictures on the trail through the forest. Here are some of the highlights:
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Happy Fourth of July!
For your enjoyment, here are some interesting pages on fireworks:
This year’s Macy’s Fireworks will be on the Hudson River instead of the East River. The show starts at 9pm!
Image credit: Flickr user Mr Magoo ICU