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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ecuadorian Happiness...a theory

We've noticed, as we wander the city (rather aimlessly, but no less enjoyably) that Ecuadorians seem, for the most part, to be happy. This in turn radiates out and makes those around them happy, which most conveniently means that we get a good dose of this daily happiness.
Tell me this doesn't make you smile!
That's not to say that things here aren't difficult for Cuencanos and gringos alike. (Okay, more so for the locals here, but I'm sure that there are gringos out there that are also having a difficult time of it.) Despite a lower standard of living, longer work hours and lack of things we would consider necessities, most Ecuadorians seem pleased with their lot in life and this makes me wonder why? How is it that we, as North Americans, can be so dissatisfied with daily life and someone with so little can seem, well, grateful and dare I say joyous?
I read a nifty little saying on Pinterest or Facebook (don't judge!) that stated: What makes you think something new will give you happiness, when everything you already have doesn't. (Okay, I'm paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it.) It blew my mind. It was so succinct.

Is having less this magic formula? Perhaps. We're just as pleased, if not more so, to be alive now than when we had a large house, new car and all sorts of frills. But this isn't the whole equation. I've also noted that many of the local news papers seem to lack world news. No horrible reports about Syria, Nigeria, climate change, mass murders, gun rampages etc. Sure there's bad news, car accidents, environmental problems, crime and other nasty things, but Ecuadorians aren't inundated with it. Nor are they addicted to internet news feeds, as most don't have internet at home and even their news is more limited to local current events. This got Ron and I to this tsunami (or tidal wave, if you prefer) of horror contributing to the North American dependence on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds.
Mamas and Babies!

Just like Mom!

Or is the Ecuadorian joie de vivre just a happy accident? I can't tell you, but the more I stay here, the happier my days become. Of course, I still keep up on NA news, but in little bytes of information, no news tickers, reinforced by the newspaper at work, no breaking news on the radio as we drive in the car and guess what...this is pleasing.
More mamas and babies. Cute or what?

Don't hate me because I have awesome eyelashes!

Sometimes I feel a little out of the loop, but if it's really important, I learn of it in a timely fashion, but don't spend hours obsessing over it through various media. The point is that I'm grateful. Grateful to see smiling faces and be greeted by the people in our neighbourhood (yes, a Mr. Rogers moment, everyday) and spending time writing, blogging and learning a new language and appreciating a new culture. These challenges make me happy and I hope that I give a little of the happiness back to the people around me.

So maybe have a media free day, maybe once a week or get nuts and take a break for a whole week and see if you perk up and smile more often. Let me know if there's any validity to this theory, or if you think that sunshine, warm temperatures and doing whatever the heck we want is the true source of our happiness! (Okay, I admit, it's pretty sweet to get up when you want.)


  1. Love your blog. I absolutely agree with your thoughts on happiness. Seems to be, the more you have,(materially speaking), the more yo have to worry about.

    1. I really appreciate your support. I'm glad that I don't just write to amuse myself! Take care.