Back Home – Monthly Happiness Report – October 2018

I feel like I'm finally back home after a busy period, even though I haven't actually been away that long. Either way, my happiness is on the rise! It feels like I'm back to my normal and happy life, which is something that I value a LOT. No matter how boring it may seem from the outside, I only care about my own happiness. That's what matters most to me.

So that' what this Monthly Happiness Report is about: Being back home in the Netherlands, back to my normal, happy, boring and simple life!

Let's see how happy I was in October 2018.

As I said, my happiness was on the rise again! Awesome.

The previous month - September - was pretty challenging. I suffered from insomnia and an overall feeling of being a bit burned out. That luckily changed when my girlfriend and I went on a long-overdue holiday to Vietnam.

That holiday spanned from the end of September until the beginning of October and will not be the topic of this happiness report. This 3-week holiday to Vietnam was a very ambitious travel holiday, and my girlfriend and I pushed ourselves to see as much of the country as possible.

We succeeded, which felt great.

But this busy schedule also left us feeling a little burned out. Wasn't the point of this holiday to relax and regain our energy?

I guess not...

You can read about our adventure-packed 3-week holiday to Vietnam here.

What have we learned from this holiday?

We're never going to plan such an ambitious holiday again. We overdid it, and have learned that we need to spend our holiday relaxing, instead of pushing ourselves to our limits.

Anyway, let's see how my happiness was influenced by this busy start of the month!

Monthly happiness

The chart below visualizes exactly what my happiness ratings looked like throughout October. Like always, I have added some comments to this chart to add context.

It's quite easy to see how October was a pretty happy month, right?

I spent the month in 3 places:

  • My girlfriend and I spent the first 12 days of October in Vietnam as part of our holiday
  • The 13th, 14th and 15th were spent on Terschelling - a small Island off the coast of the Netherlands - as part of a family weekend
  • The remainder of the month was spent back home 🙂

And you can see how I was pretty happy in all these places. I obviously enjoyed my time in Vietnam, and I really valued my time with my family afterward on our family weekend. But I also REALLY felt happy when I was finally back home.

Unfortunately, both my girlfriend and I quickly got sick after we were back home.

Anyway, I want to show you what my happiness looked like during these different periods! Let's first have a look at the total set of data for October!

Happiness factors

The table below shows all the happiness factors that influenced my happiness in October 2018.

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Happiness in Vietnam

The start of the month was obviously pretty great, as it contained a couple of real highlights of my holiday in Vietnam. For example, my girlfriend and I motorbiked across Ha Giang, one of Vietnam's most beautiful and remote provinces for four days! We also spent 3 days cruising in the spectacular Ha Long Bay and near Cat Ba Island. It was absolutely beautiful, and my happiness ratings were obviously pretty high on those days!

No shit, right?

How can I NOT be happy when I'm in these beautiful places with my girlfriend?

Taking in the beauty of Ha Long Bay
Taking in the beauty of Ha Long Bay

Seriously, these places were breathtaking, and I'll probably remember them for the rest of my life.

A beautiful panorama of the winding road on the Ma Pi Leng Pass
A beautiful panorama of the winding road on the Ma Pi Leng Pass, Ha Giang

If you're wondering just how happy I was, then let me help you.

Here's what I had to say about it in my Happiness Tracking Journal. I wrote the following on the 5th of October, which was our first day in Ha Long Bay. I rated this day with an 8,6 on my happiness scale from 1 to 10.

A good day! Lovely. This is what we needed.

Woke up early to pack in, eat breakfast and check-out. We spent the rest of the morning in a bus, from Hanoi to Ha Long City. I watched Better Call Saul during the entire busride haha. We left the port at 12:00 and departed for Ha Long Bay.

And it was so awesome. We're on this old beaten up boat, and it's small but it's got all we need: Good food, a great room with a double bed and a nice shower. Oh, and the weather is perfect.

Ha Long Bay is easily the most beautiful part of Vietnam so far. And that's quite something to say. We spent the entire afternoon kayaking and swimming.

Yes, this is great. And exactly what we needed. It feels right. I'm also really enjoying this time with my girlfriend. It's 21:15 now, and I'm sitting on the top deck and looking at the stars. Going to sleep in a minute, because we have quite a busy schedule for tomorrow. I'm super excited for it!

As I said, our trip to Vietnam had been very exhausting. But days like these were great and made it all worth it.

This day was one of the happiest days of October, and you can probably see why! 🙂

Happiness on a family weekend

When my girlfriend and I arrived back in the Netherlands, we went straight to my family for a nice little weekend.

My parents had rented a small house for the weekend on the island of Terschelling. I had never been there before, so I was actually really looking forward to it.

Even more then that, I was just looking forward to some quality time with my parents, brother, and sister.

You can see from my happiness ratings that this weekend was really nice! A big reason for that was the weather: it was absolutely amazing. It could not have been any better.

Just look at this picture!

family weekend on terschelling october 2018
Perfect weather in the early morning during our family weekend on Terschelling!

You might be thinking: who the hell wants to spend a weekend with their family on some island after just returning from a busy 3-week holiday in Vietnam?

I do!

It was actually a very relaxing weekend.

We cycled a lot across the Island, recovered a lot of sleep deprivation and had a lot of fun with each other without really doing all that much! It was just what I needed.

I wrote the following on the 14th of October, after having spent a great day on the Island. I rated this day with an 8.25:

Spent a great day with my family, and I really enjoyed it. It started with a nice Dutch breakfast and black coffee, both things that I really missed in Vietnam.

Spent a good part of the day bicycling around the island. Had great pancakes for lunch and just really enjoyed our simple time together. I was pretty tired from my jetlag, though. After a nice dinner of Spanish tapas, my girlfriend and I went straight to bed.

We also gave my parents their anniversary gift (a husky ride on a cart through the forest) which they seemed to like. They've been married for 35 years now, and I think that's amazing. I love my parents. Have I ever told them? I want them to know that.

So the second part of October was very nice as well, and my happiness ratings reflected this.

Then that leaves me with the last part of the month, the part where I finally returned home after all this traveling.

But let's first have a closer look at all the happiness factors that positively influenced my happiness!

Positive happiness factors

The chart below shows all the positive happiness factors of October 2018.

I feel like I have already discussed a big part of these positive happiness factors.

My girlfriend and traveling in Vietnam made me really happy during the first part of this month.

I also really enjoyed spending time with my family during our weekend on Terschelling.

That leaves me with the last part of October, during which I finally got back home and had some much needed time to relax and decompress.

Relaxing back home and picking up my happy uneventful life!

Before I left the Netherlands on my holiday to Vietnam, I was feeling very exhausted and slightly burned-out.

Luckily, that feeling was mostly gone when I finally got back home. And it - again - was reflected in my happiness ratings. I did my best to take it easy, and my days were very relaxing as a result.

A good example of this is the 22nd of October. I rated that day with an 8,25 on my happiness scale. Here's what I wrote about it in my happiness tracking journal:

A nice day! I feel great and I've been pretty productive. Work was alright. Started a little later at 08:30 and carpooled with my girlfriend. I tried to take things easy. It's going to be quite busy again at work, but I feel like it'll be manageable. I also spoke with my manager and our team is finally expanding instead of shrinking! Great.

I didn't do any significant stuff today, mostly just general tasks: reporting, chatting with colleagues, writing some emails. Nothing special.

Cooked dinner at home, bought my girlfriend flowers (which she really liked 🙂 ) and spent some nice time together. Her day was pretty good as well, which makes me happy.

We also ran around the block together, which was nice. It feels great to be running again, as it seems like it's been ages till I ran my last marathon.

Anyway, that's about it. We sat on the couch and watched Making a Murdered for the remainder of the evening. Just finished writing another article, and going to bed now. I really like days like these! 

This is the happy and uneventful life that I really enjoy.

It may sound super boring and awful to you, but it's the life that makes me happy!

You should try it sometime! 🙂

Anyway, I spent a lot of days like these back home. I spent a lot of relaxing nights on the couch in front of the TV with my girlfriend.

Getting back to my running fitness

As said, it feels like forever since I ran my last marathon in Paris.

I was supposed to run my 5th marathon in December 2017 but unfortunately had to cancel due to a terribly annoying injury.

Ever since that time, I have struggled to make a full recovery, back to my former fitness levels. It's not like I've become obese, but the times of running 17 km straight after work are long gone...

But that's going to change!

Why?

Because I signed up for my 5th marathon! YES! I'm going to run the Rotterdam Marathon on the 7th of April 2019. Hell yeah!

At this very moment, I would probably not make it past the first 10K mark, but I have plenty of time to prepare my body for this gigantic challenge. I've run a sub-4 marathon once before, but I'm not an idiot: I'm nowhere near as fit as I was then.

Therefore, my goal is to finish this marathon AT ALL. I want to finally knock that 5th marathon off my list.

And hopefully, running will make it's way back to the top of my positive happiness factors!

I'm hopeful!

Before wrapping this post up, let's have a close look at the negative happiness factors of October.

Negative happiness factors

The chart below shows all the negative happiness factors of October 2018.

I got sick as soon as I got back home.

Yes. I had just completed 3 weeks of intense traveling in Vietnam and spent a weekend with my family on an island. And the minute I step foot in our apartment, I get sick.

Fuck me, right?

I spent a full week in my apartment, and to be honest, it wasn't all that bad. Yes, it sucked that I felt under the weather, but I didn't mind the extra time away from the office.

I knew that my work would wait for me. Therefore, I took my time to regain my health before I decided to show up at the office again.

There are two additional negative happiness factors that I want to highlight, and they are Gaming and my Relationship.

What happened there? Aren't these happiness factors supposed to have a POSITIVE effect on my happiness?

Yes, but something went wrong, unfortunately. It's not that big of a deal, luckily.

My girlfriend and I had a small argument on our trip to Vietnam after one of our connections from the airport to the city didn't line up. It was the result of our way-too-ambitious travel itinerary. We were both quite on-edge and therefore easily agitated.

The same happened on the 23rd when I had a crap day at work, and I wanted to blow off some steam by playing some Battlefield on my PlayStation 4. For those who aren't familiar with online shooters, things don't always go as planned. Let's just say that I was playing some guys that were waaaay better than I am, and it only frustrated me more.

It's actually quite funny, now that I think of it.

Luckily, these negative happiness factors didn't have a huge influence on my happiness!

Closing words

With that out of the way, it's time to say au revoir to October. October was a great month for me, filled with a lot of exciting and happy memories. I hope that the remainder of 2018 will be just as nice.

I hope these posts give you a general idea of what tracking happiness means to me. Because I'm tracking my happiness ratings and factors every single day, I am fully aware of what I need to do in order to become as happy as I can be. With that said, I hope I can somehow inspire you to also start tracking your happiness. 🙂

If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I'll be happy to answer you!

Cheers!

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