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A Measure of Happiness

July 2nd, 2008 · No Comments

I found this interesting article on the Yahoo! front page:(excerpted)

Study: World Gets Happier

LiveScience Staff Mon Jun 30, 1:16 PM ET

Previous research has found that happiness is partly inherited and that money doesn’t buy much of it. Yet the new survey finds people of rich countries tend to be happier than those of poor countries. And controlling for economic factors, certain types of societies are much happier than others. “The results clearly show that the happiest societies are those that allow people the freedom to choose how to live their lives,” Inglehart said.

A survey released last week found one reason America doesn’t top the list: Baby Boomers are generally miserable compared to other generations. Further, a public opinion poll released by the Pew Research Center in April found that 81 percent of Americans say they believe the country is on the “wrong track.” The response is the most negative in the 25 years pollsters have asked the question.

Denmark is the happiest nation and Zimbabwe the most glum, he found. (Zimbabwe’s longtime ruler Robert Mugabe was sworn in as president for a sixth term Sunday after a widely discredited runoff in which he was the only candidate. Observers said the runoff was marred by violence and intimidation.)

The United States ranks 16th.

I am actually surprised that the US is 16th, because I know how we as a Nation are, we like to complain. We LOVE to speak out and make noise. We can’t be the Happiest because then we would have nowhere to go, no space for improvement. We could never be Number 1 on the Happiness scale and I think that is a good thing.

I am sad to hear that the Baby Boomers are considered “generally miserable”, but we knew that they were setting themselves up for failure. Baby Boomers are considered the hardest working, most money making and lifestyle-changing group of the past centuries. They have high-pressure jobs, they care for their parents, they care for their kids, and somewhere, someone told them they had to “have it all”.  What exactly does that entail anyway? How is it measurable?

I am not a Baby Boomer. I am not chasing down the American Dream, I am not climbing the corporate ladder, I do not want or need to have it all. Our household struggles with income and sometimes that can be very stressful, but for the most part, I like my life today and I guess that makes me a Happy Person.

I have a great husband, I actually enjoy the company of my kids, I have some girlfriends that have been close since childhood. My parents live far away, but I can call them anytime, I have a decent house and a suitable car, but what I think really makes the difference is I laugh a lot. 

I try to find humor in everything. Hubby is a barrel of monkeys, the kids tell great stories of adventures or friends and girlfriends share their perspectives on life’s little up and downs.  Who could ask for more?

If there is some kind of Happiness Quotient, I may fit in there somewhere, but maybe I am just lucky? Life is good.   

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