it's all about me · remembering / musing

The universe bites back

Being fifty-something, I can admit to a hippy-like view of the universe and how it brings you what you need or deserve (not necessarily what you want … or think you want).

Last night, I think the universe bit back at me for my blogpost about fugly power line stanchions. Yes, we suffered a power outage, the first in quite a while.

Just as Mr P, Wonder Boy and I were pouring (or maybe pawing) over the Pizza Shop menu, planning a Friday-night-end-of-a-long-week-feed, all went dark.

After an awkward pause to figure out WTF was going on, we scrambled in the dark for torches and candles.

Luckily, being a collector of “old stuff”, I had these (and more) handy:

The street lights (and traffic lights) were out for almost as far as we could see. Mr P offered to brave the darkness and head to the Pizza Shop (“I’m a truck driver. I can drive in the dark.”)

Lucky, because the blackout had limited our dinner options dramatically.

I managed to locate a bottle of red (by feel) and there was a beer (or two) in the fridge.

It’s amazing how much we take electricity for granted. Everything I wanted to do seemed to involve flicking a switch. Eventually I settled in a chair and just let myself “be” – a welcome state after a stressful week.

Soon, Mr P was back (bearing a family-sized half vegetarian/half special) and we gathered around the light source at the dining table to dig in.

Wonder Boy was relaxing after finishing his last university exam for the semester so was on for a chat.

Before long we were deep into the “why and why not” of whether money can buy happiness. I’d been to another “positive psychology” talk the previous night where the speaker shared some data about income not contributing to day-to-day happiness, once earning reached a certain level (approx. $75,000 combined household). He (the speaker) wondered why business owners were busting a gut to earn more money, even in very successful businesses, if it was not likely they’d be happier.

I’ve since been asking myself that same question.

As an Economics major, Wonder Boy had plenty to add. A uni mate is planning a thesis based on whether or not money can buy happiness, so he was familiar with the data.

Mr P has an opportunity to chase some big dollars in his work. It would mean some big changes in our lives and we’re not sure how that would pan out.

It made for interesting chatter about how else you might find satisfaction if not by earning more money. Perhaps by doing good things for others, by being innovative and thought-leading in your industry, by teaching others, by sharing success with those around you, by creating opportunities for other people, by being creative?

The list goes on.

Goodness knows what’s right for us. I’m not even sure the universe knows. I’m not even sure there’s a right answer.

What I do know is that last night’s power outage gave this little family the opportunity to have an honest, uninterrupted discussion about what happiness means to us. No one rushed off to watch the footy, check emails, write blogposts, read novels or newspapers.

Instead, we lingered by the light source, the conversation and the empty pizza box for a couple of hours before the cold set in and we headed off to bed.

The universe had brought us what we needed and deserved … time to just “be”, time to have meaningful conversation and time to share our thoughts about what was good in our lives, what makes us happy.

All achieved in the soft glow of the oil lamp and candles … a reminder of those simpler times.

Thanks universe. You can come biting any time.

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