Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Not sure it really relates much to class, ...

... but I though this article was interesting.

Case No. 218

How’s this for the good life? You’re rich, and you made the dough yourself. You’re well into your 80s, and have spent hardly a day in the hospital. Your wife had a cancer scare, but she’s recovered and by your side, just as she’s been for more than 60 years. Asked to rate the marriage on a scale of 1 to 9, where 1 is perfectly miserable and 9 is perfectly happy, you circle the highest number. You’ve got two good kids, grandkids too. A survey asks you: “If you had your life to live over again, what problem, if any, would you have sought help for and to whom would you have gone?” “Probably I am fooling myself,” you write, “but I don’t think I would want to change anything.” If only we could take what you’ve done, reduce it to a set of rules, and apply it systematically.


Case No. 47

You literally fell down drunk and died. Not quite what the study had in mind.

Last fall, I spent about a month in the file room of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, hoping to learn the secrets of the good life. The project is one of the longest-running—and probably the most exhaustive—longitudinal studies of mental and physical well-being in history. Begun in 1937 as a study of healthy, well-adjusted Harvard sophomores (all male), it has followed its subjects for more than 70 years.

It seems this man had the keys to a happy life. According to me that would mean God, faith, health, happiness and family. Also, good friends, satisfaction with your career and monetary security. Beyond that, there is some more controllable personal variables: staying positive and keeping negativity out of your mind; putting in good effort in everything that you try; honesty and integrity; gratitude for what you have. Loving others and being tolerant of those different than yourself can also bring immense happiness and personal satisfaction. Appreciating the small things can also help your day to day routine and keep you a happy person in the long run. Focus on your haves instead of your havenots.
"The garden club doesn't invite you and your life sucks." Funny quote. But, I definitely agree that happiness is not about me. My happiest moments are ones shared with family or good friends. And definitely once I start focusing on myself, I tend to be less happy.
I read somewhere that the reason why Norway, Iceland, and Sweden always rank high on "happy" surveys is because their culture emphasizes being even keel, meaning not too happy and not too sad. This makes sense for me because if I realize the absurdity of life then it's foolish for me to think I can be truly happy and yet I can easily see that being sad is a waste of time and so to be somewhere in the middle meaning I am as satisfied with life as can be because I got my health, got good friends, love my family, do good deeds, and I don't yearn to drive a BMW even if I can afford it. I'll consider that happy.
I believe the secrets of a good life are hard to grasp for two reasons. One is, there is no definitive "good" life. People value different things so something that makes one person happy doesn't necessarily make another happy. Second is, there is no person on this earth who can say they live a good life when their life hasn't even been completed yet. "Did you live a good life?" can only be answered once the life has been completed.
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]