I love dividing the world into categories. Abstainers and moderators. Radiators and drains. Leopards and alchemists. Marathoners and sprinters (formerly known as tortoises and hares)…I like this terminology better, how about you?

I’ve come up with a new distinction, but I’m still turning it over in my mind. I’m not sure it works out…I would love to hear your response.

A conversation between two friends at my children’s literature reading group meeting inspired me to notice this.

One friend said, “I always want to feel empty,” and a friend responded, “I always want to feel full.” (They were speaking metaphorically.)

I thought this was just about the most interesting pair of remarks that I’d ever heard. I wasn’t able to pursue this conversation at the time, but I plan to.

In the meantime, it got me thinking: is this a distinction?

Does one group—I’ll call them the simplicity lovers—prefer to have less, subtraction, emptiness, bare surfaces, few choices, spare supplies (one tube of toothpaste)? Does this go with a love of stillness?

And does another group—I’ll call them abundance lovers—prefer to have more, fullness, overflow, collections, many choices, ample supplies (five tubes of toothpaste)? Does this go with a love of buzz?

What do you think of these two categories? Agree or disagree? If it strikes a chord with you, what group do you identify with? I put myself in the simplicity lovers category.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.


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