One of the networks was hyping a show entitled “The Happiest Woman in America.” Since it was scheduled to air after my bedtime, I set it up to be taped because I was dying to find out who she was and what she did to get that way.
Two problems – my bedtime is getting earlier every day since I’m still operating on daylight savings time, and it took me all afternoon to set the DVR which made me frustrated and yes, UNHAPPY.
Turns out the happiest woman is a middle-aged working chick with grown children. It wasn’t so much about the woman herself, but that she embodied the stats of the happiest segment of our society.
She’s a Baby Boomer (I’ve got that one covered) who exercises at least 30-45 minutes six times a week (uh, oh), and has at least four devoted friends she could call if she had a flat tire. I have no idea how to change a tire, but I have three friends I could call (if they’re not screening their calls). I guess I need one more friend…and maybe a Triple A membership.
The sketch was based on years of research by Healthways, a well-being management group which found several prevailing characteristics of the happiest of the happy. Here are a few:
* Spirituality/religion play an important part of daily life, check;
*Loves their community and contributes freely to civic projects, double check;
*Has meaningful work – check – if raking leaves counts;
*Reports a good standard of living (does anyone have that anymore?);
*Married (shucks – I guess I need a husband in addition to one more friend);
*Strong support from family, check;
*Has about 1-5 hours of social interaction per day – check, I can overdose on socializing;
*Is hopeful about life five years from now, check – hope floats eternally in my world…but of course, I’m deluded.
It suddenly dawned on me that the ingredients for unbridled happiness already exist for most of us. I have the right stuff to be just as happy as that woman. It helps to remind myself of that as we approach Thanksgiving week.
I agree with cartoonist Charles Schulz who is credited with saying “My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”
Happy Thanksgiving and try to get caught being happy even if the turkey is dry and the gravy lumpy!