Whoever wins the rat race is still a rat

I didn’t want to be a rat.

I was lying in a pool of sunshine the other day, taking a much-needed day off with a dear friend, and all I could think was I didn’t want to be a rat.

My friend and I were discussing the social confines and expectations of our world. What we do; what we’re expect to do. People go to school for years and years, then to University (usually piling up a huge debt – over $10,000 in my case, nearly $50,000 in his).

Then we get a job. Marriage often follows – more debt with huge weddings (mine was modest at about $17,000).

Then we have a few years working to save for a house (my first home cost a mere $210,000) before popping out the mandatory couple of kids, who of course have huge expense needs of their own.

And so the cycle continues.

I didn’t want to be a rat. I’m not sure anyone really wants to be a rat in this world, yet the world is full of unintentional rats, all slogging along in jobs we don’t like paying for things we don’t need that don’t make us happy and serve no real purpose we can fathom.


I didn’t sign on for “Rats Anonymous”. This isn’t what I wanted. This isn’t what I planned for my life. Yet here I was, firmly entrenched in Ratdom.

The thing is, none of these rat accountrements made me happy. Not one.

My List Of Happiness

Here’s what makes me happy. This is my List Of Happiness:

Lying in the sun…laughing with my friends…creating and freely sharing new music…great sex…going for walking at dawn or dusk…the beach, the salt air and the wind in my face…swimming…sunny days and bright skies…listening to the rain at night on the roof when I’m tucked up in bed in the arms of my lover…playing with my kids…sharing my ideas and thoughts with people who get them…giving freely without thought of anything in return…

When I look at the list above, it’s quite clear that things don’t make me happy. Stuff doesn’t make me happy. It’s people and the natural world and experiences that make me happy.

My list of happiness shows me that I am not a rat. Nothing on my List of Happiness can be bought or sold – not one.

I bet nothing on your List Of Happiness – should you choose to create one – could be bought or sold either. Make a list and see.

Simplifying our way out of the rat maze

We’re sold the belief that we can buy happiness. That happiness can come from achievement, from status, and from stuff.

It can’t.


Over the past few years, and especially the past few months, I’ve been simplifying my needs. I’ve found that the less I need and want and have, the happier I am.

It’s actually true.


  1. I undestand what you are saying. I have been broke, left with nothing, but I have been happy. During my travels here in South America, I have seen kids from desperately poor backgrounds who have nothing but their happiness. Travelling has been a great leveller.



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