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February 6th, 2008


Quick definitions (happiness)


  • noun:  emotions experienced when in a state of well-being

  • noun:  state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy

Every once in a while, I see an article on "The Happiest Person in the World" or "The Happiest People in the World" and it always grabs my attention for two reasons: 1) I'd like to compete with them, and 2) I'm curious as to what their happiness is comprised of.

In the very first issue of The Week that came when I restarted my subscription was an article entitled Cold, dark, and happy, with this lead-in: "The sun is overrated, says Eric Weiner. In a new book, the NPR correspondent visits Iceland to find out why the people who live there are among the most contented in the world."

Another such story is on oprah.com at the moment, a story in which they give blurbs about the lives of five people, from which you're supposed to guess which one is the happiest. In the article, after identifying three of the five who scored the highest on the "happiness scale," they offer little snipits from them about why they're so happy.

These are the salient ones—at least the ones the resonated the most with me:

  •  Satisfaction for Peggy is achieved by surrounding herself with happiness.

  • "Being successful in life is not what really matters. Being significant in life is really the core root of what matters," according to David.

  • Lachelle says she lives by the philosophy, "Negative out, positive in." She says she believes happiness is a conscious effort. "It's about claiming what's yours. If you want a positive life, you need to think positively and act positively," she says. "I do my best not to compare myself with others. I've always felt that what one person has may not be destined for me."

  • Dr. Holden says those looking for happiness often don't realize they already have it. It's a lesson that he says he was lucky to learn at age 18 from a spiritual teacher. "He said, 'Look, actually, Robert, you're already happy.' And I said, 'Well, that's great, but I don't feel it. So tell me, what do I have to do?'" Dr. Holden recalls. "And he said, 'You have to understand that the pursuit of happiness is a mistake. It's like, you don't chase happiness out there. You learn that you're happy inside you, and then you go running. Then you go into the world.'"
I'm not a huge fan of these type of quizzes, but I can honestly answer 7 (Absolutely True) to all five of these "Satisfaction with Life Scale" questions:

  1. In most ways, my life is close to ideal.

  2. The conditions of my life are excellent.

  3. I am satisfied with my life.

  4. So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.

  5. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.



On the completely opposite end of the happiness scale, I got SHIFTED INTO UPPER CASE at the grocery store today.

Mischelle [sic], who's working the Express Lane, and who obviously hates her job, [and if the large Band-Aid® that's just under her chin and all the way across it—like it's trying to smile on her behalf—is any indication, perhaps has had a rough evening as well], literally yanks my little convenience basket towards her on the belt.

She starts dumping my stuff out on the belt: some cheese, a bag of shrimp, and then my bag of Tostito Scoops, the bag of which I've carefully chosen looking through the bag for the most whole pieces. I mean that's the whole point of buying scoops isn't it? If I wanted flat pieces, I wouldn't be paying extra for scoops. I'm just saying.

Bad enough she throws them down, now she continues, and throws a canned good on top of them followed by my box of raisins. As she takes my cantaloupe into her hand, I just yell at her, "GIRL! YOU'RE THROWING SHIT ON MY CHIPS! Do you think you could be careful with my food?"

She just glares at me, and sets the cantaloupe down beside the chip bag. Not a word—now or throughout the entire rest of the transaction.

"Credit, please," I say and she pushes whatever buttons she needs to. She hands me the receipt to sign. Not a peep.

To the next guy in line, "You got your MVP card?"

I laugh at the irony. MVP? Is that Most Valuable Person? I think what it really stands for is: Mischelle Very Pissed. At least today.



Whenever I walk over to the paper towel and cleaner kiosk at the gym, behind which is a wall mirror, little makes me feel more accomplished than to see my shirt looking like this:


Today's workout stats:
Machine
Type
Minute
Duration
Calories
Burned

Elliptical

60

923




We had a yummy dinner tonight, and we're off to dancing at 9.

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