Monday, February 18, 2008

The Happiest People In The World

It was a quiet weekend. The weather was nice and it was so warm on Sunday that I was able to open up windows and let some fresh air flow through the house. Weekends are also always nice for getting some much needed extra sleep to offset the accumulated fatigue of the work week. After getting up on Saturday, I went to the movies. I saw "The Spiderwick Chronicles". It was the kind of fantasy/adventure movie that I like so much. Although it was rated for children, I thought it was way too intense for very young children. Had Chloe attended with me, she would have been scared to death. On Friday night I also watched a movie that I enjoyed very much. It was called "Across the Universe". It was your basic boy meets girl kind of movie with what I considered a very creative twist. The backdrop was the Sixties and much of the dialogue and all of the music were the songs of the Beatles. It was amazing to me how appropriate all of the song lyrics were to what was going on in the story. Of course, my wife thought it was awful and later my son emailed me calling it "hippie drivel" and one of the worst movies ever made.

Speaking of my son...

I received a letter from the college that Nick attends. He made the Dean's List for outstanding academic achievement. Now I know why I struggle so much. Apparently, Nick got all the brains in the family.

Last night I was watching 60 Minutes. There was a piece on happiness. The happiest country on earth based on a survey is Denmark. The United States was #23. Why are they Danish so happy? Their immediate neighbors in Norway have more money and the Swedish have better health. The Danes that were interviewed thought it was because they had lower, or at least more realistic, expectations about life. The Danes tend to be more content with their lives. Since they don't expect too much, they are happy with less and always surprised when really good things happen to them. They believed that we Americans are often unhappy because we want too much. Most of us are are driven by the desire for success and money and possessions. When we do not get these things, we are stressed out and disappointed. Another expert in the field of happiness studies stated that 90% of all American college students are stressed out and overwhelmed. I believe there is a lot of truth in all of this. When I feel content, I feel happy. When I am not content, I am not happy. This applies to all aspects of my life from relationships, to work, to what I possess. For me there is another factor that often affects my happiness. In order to be content with my life, I must also find meaning in it. This is the curse of being what some people consider a "deep" person. I am always looking for meaning in everything. "Deep" people who search for meaning in everything are often "Romantics" who have high expectations. According to the Danish people interviewed on 60 Minutes, one of the quickest ways to be unhappy is to have high expectations. In their minds, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Based on my experience of life, I find that much of this rings true. Sometimes I wish I could just relax more and not need to find meaning in everything. I need to find more contentment with what is and not always see what is missing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My wife really liked this post. Your last sentence speaks to how often recent retirees seize up when their work is over and then their identity is gone. The key is to accept what is all the time, without attaching yourself to what you think should be. She recommends a really good book called The Untethered Soul and Dr. Gurgevich's work.

I, on the other hand, am a huge fan of less spiritual subjects like google and long tail. I find it so cool that we found you by googling '"i love every minute of the day" lyrics' because Julia wanted to hear that song. I forgot it was The Who! Voila, your blog came up and here we are digging your prose! Tell me THAT isn't cool!
PS.. here's my, and here's julia's art: