6. Your home is important
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I am reading several books at the same time at present. One is The
Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton.
Buildings, especially our home, can
contribute to making us happy he writes, and I thoroughly agree with that.
This is of course true when you live in one place most of your life, but it is
equally important (perhaps even more so) when you move around a lot, like I and
my family did during my years as a geologist.
As I have related previously in this Blog, after living for 29 years in the cold
and depressing climate of The Netherlands, a major goal in my life was to seek a
more pleasant environment. In this respect I benefited greatly form my study and
qualification as a geologist, for it gave me the opportunity and
springboard to follow through on that goal.
My choice of emigrating to Australia (in 1965) is still one of the very best
decisions I ever made in my life. And it has contributed significantly to my
overall well being and happiness, as it also did for Antien and my two children. I
hate the cold and love the warmer climates with predominantly sunny days and clear blue skies, where I can dress casually in shorts
and a T-shirt. Over the years I have gradually moved more or less permanently to
the Northern half of this continent, with the Queensland Sunshine Coast, 500km
south of the Tropic of Capricorn, the southern most part I rarely travel
The other important environmental choice of course is between a major city and
country life. Although I have enjoyed life in Newcastle and Adelaide, I much
prefer the country provided I stay conveniently close to a medium size center like
Darwin or the Sunshine Coast for shopping, dining etc.
Well, that is my story as far as factors for happiness is concerned. But I stay
alert on these issues and fine tune or change them as I see new opportunities or
experience a change of mood or direction in my life.
During the 17 year of my marriage we lived in eight different homes (not counting
the 5 transit houses we stayed for up to 3-4 months each time), spaced thousands
of kilometers apart, each time in a new environment and within a different
community. A house in which you feel happy is most important in such
My wife Antien did most of the house hunting in those days (while I was at
work) and always came up with a good choice. Only one of the houses we lived in
(in Merewether) was our
own, four were rented homes (in The Hague and Assen in Holland, and Kalgoorlie and Canberra in Australia), and
three were company houses (in Kalgoorlie WA, Jonki in PNG and in Arawa on Bougainville Island). The
Company houses in Kalgoorlie and Jonki were brand new and we were the very first
Besides furniture we had lots of decorations which we took with us everywhere.
This helped greatly in making each place we lived in "our own". And invariably,
every time we had to pull up stumps and move on, there was a sense of
sadness of leaving a place we had been happy and had felt so at home.
How does the above fit into my six proclaimed factors for happiness you may ask.
1. Health 2. Freedom
4. Thought 4. Sense of Purpose
Easy ! It is a most important part of the factor of one's Living Environment of
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These days, living by myself, the place I live in is still most important to me.
But I have become much more austere in my taste. As long as a place is light and
roomy and only a single step away from nature I am quite happy.
last 8 years this has been just a a tent or a simple cabin (like I rent now on the Mango farm near Darwin)
with bare walls and no frills. Quite remarkable how we can change as we grow
Copyright © 2010 Michael Furstner