10 Euros Can Buy Happiness

I got a sunburn on my face this weekend. Seaside cafes did good business with the unseasonably warm weather. It’s not exactly Christmas in LA, but at least we have the palm trees.

How things change.

By tomorrow morning 90% of Albania will be covered in snow. Here in sunny Saranda we’ll be spared the snowflakes. Still, temperatures have plummeted from less-than-comfortable to well below freezing.

Like most buildings we don’t have heat. I’ve done the European thing the past couple of months and toughed it out with more layers and blankets.

But my room faces the sea, and the bathroom can only be reached by going outside to the balcony. Opening the door for even a moment means whatever precious heat I’ve accumulated is lost.

With the forecast looking bleak for the week ahead, my host produced a small space heater.

The thing couldn’t cost more than 10 euros.

I’m the happiest man in the world.

Now all I need is a Turkish coffee and a hot shower (fortunately, we have both in abundance).

It’s funny how your perspective changes.

Not long ago I had a career, a decent car, and a city apartment in a building with an indoor swimming pool.

Who cares, right? I wasn’t happy.

Maybe I didn’t know how to appreciate it.

Back to the heater. I’ve never been so grateful for such a simple thing.

I was shivering under two wool blankets and now I’m warm.

At least for the moment, a 10 euro heater changed my life.

It’s easy to overlook our body’s basic needs when they’re met. For most of us in the Western World, the questions of food and heat are an afterthought. Work hard, make money, and you can pay for those things.

But take them away and it’s all you can think about. Politics, celebrity gossip, and interest amortization rates become secondary concerns.

This is not a lecture about poverty.

Instead, it’s a reminder to take joy in the simplest things, like a warm meal with hot coffee on a cold morning.

Try this:

Imagine for a moment you were homeless and a steaming cup of coffee was the first warm thing you’d held in your hands for days?

How good would it feel? What would it taste like?

And as it warmed you from the inside would you distract yourself thinking about the next election or would you savor each sip?

One of the greatest things about life is that it doesn’t take much to be happy.

A coffee with friends. A place to sleep. Maybe a new pair of shoes once in a while.

But in the complicated world we’ve built nothing is ever good enough.

The car isn’t fast enough. The house isn’t big enough.

We know these things won’t make us happy, but most people spend their whole lives chasing after them.

Ready to try something else? Good. This time imagine there’s no future, no bills to pay or races to run—only the present moment.

Close your eyes and ask yourself one simple question:

What if I already have everything I need to be happy?

Where do you want to go?

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