I have reached the last month of 2015: December! During this month, I finished working on the project in the Netherlands, and got a couple of days off to celebrate the holidays. Unfortunately, the holidays did not turn out as I hoped. My granddad passed away after a long struggle at the age of 84. It greatly affected my happiness during the Christmas days. I want to show you what it did to my happiness, and how I dealt with it.
I have to add here that this post is going to be different than the usual Happiness Report. Even though I don’t want to talk too much about the negatives here, I feel like it’s the only relevant subject. I will try to keep it short
Below table shows the average happiness ratings for this period.
After the relatively low average happiness rating of November, I wasn’t able to recover it. Mind you, I don’t consider an average of 7,54 to be low, but it was definitely a decrease from the rest of the year.
The chart below shows my happiness ratings during December, 2014:
So my happiness was quite turbulent throughout this month. Last month ended with a couple of bad days. This month didn’t start any better. The happiness ratings slowly increased with the help of my girlfriend, before tumbling again when my granddad passed away.
This event had a big influence on my happiness, and it’s what I want to talk about in this post.
The table below shows all the happiness ratings for December, 2014, including the factors that influenced it.
Even though I want to discuss the effect of losing a relative on my happiness, I first want to focus on the positives. The chart below shows all the factors that had a positive influence on my happiness during December, 2014.
My relationship has almost always been a great positive influence on my happiness. This month was especially positive. We enjoyed each others company, and even spent a lovely weekend together. These days were the highest rated days during the entire month.
“My relationship usually influences my happiness much more positively”
Last month, I discussed a new metric: the happiness ratio. It is calculated by dividing the number of positively influenced days by the number of negatively influenced days. Last month’s happiness ratio for my relationship was 1,52. What does that mean? It means that for every three days that were positively influenced by my relationship, there were two days that were negatively influenced. It doesn’t sound so positive now, does it? Last month was one of the worst months to date for me and my girlfriend, mostly due to me working on the project during the week and a nasty conflict we had. My relationship usually influences my happiness much more positively.
Luckily, December was infinitely better. My girlfriend positively influenced my happiness on 13 days.
Were there any negatively influenced days? Nope! Most of my happiness in this month was due to me enjoying every second with my girlfriend. That’s how I like it.
Relaxing at last
After working on the project for 2 months, I was looking forward to the end. Working the same routine, day in – day out, had a negative effect on my happiness. It was becoming a grind. Therefore, I was relieved when I finished my term. I received my appraisals – which were positive, luckily – and got to enjoy some time at home again!
This meant that I was able to see my family and friends more often again. It also meant that I could continue recording my music. I loved it all. But what I loved most was the amount of time that suddenly appeared in my schedule. I was no longer working 50 hours a week. No, I was able to fully relax again.
Negative happiness factors
As I said, the end of December was marked by the passing of my granddad. It was the biggst negative factor in December, as shown in the chart below.
Losing a relative
To add some context: my granddad died of a heart attack, after struggling with many health issues for over a year. He had suffered from a stroke approximately 18 months earlier. He was fighting a battle every day to recover, but each step forward was followed by another step backwards. During this period, he suffered from multiple lung inflammations, flu’s and fevers.
On the 22nd of December, he died from a heart attack.
My dad told me, and it left me quite shocked. I never experienced a death within the family before, and it all left me feeling empty from inside. Even though I knew this moment would eventually come, I was still left feeling emotionaly unstable. I remember feeling all kinds of emotions, without really knowing what to do with them. It was hard for me to express my emotions.
It also happened right before Christmas. So what should have been a joyful time with the family, was instead marked by a sudden death.
“My entire family was around to support each other”
I spent a lot of time thinking of old memories that I had from my granddad. It’s not like I was in grief for this entire period, but it still heavily influenced my happiness. My grandmother obviously suffered the biggest loss, and it was heartbreaking to see her deal with such an immense loss. Luckily though, my entire family was around to support each other.
Because of this reason, my happiness was still decent. My girlfriend was around a lot, in order to help me deal with my own struggles during this period. Our family was also closely in touch, to help each other with this loss. We also still enjoyed a Christmas dinner together. It was not entirely what we were used to, but it helped with the grief anyway.
The funeral was held on the 29th of December, and was absolutely beautiful. It was a proper ceremony for my granddad, and it ultimately helped my family with recovering from this loss.
My granddad had lived a rich and memorable life. May he rest in peace.
So even though the passing of my granddad had a huge influence on my happiness, I was still nog completely unhappy. And for that, I can thank my support network. My girlfriend and family had a similarly great influence, which kept me on both feet.
Even though there were a handful of other negative happiness factors, I will stop this post here.
January, 2015, is going to be filled with more positivity. I promise.
If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to answer them!
Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 7 years.