When the nightly news tease announced an upcoming story about the “Happiest Woman in America”, I was intrigued. Who is this woman who holds the secret to happiness? She must be rich, gorgeous, have a fabulous family. I was confident she wasn’t a Kardashian, although we all need to keep up with them, don’t we? Since they got my attention, I pressed the record button on my DVR just in case the phone rang. I didn’t want to risk missing this potential life altering story.
What did I learn that would change the course of my life so I too could be on the list of happiest women?
For starters, she is in her 50s. Like me, she is not a spring chicken. Isn’t fifty the new thirty anyway? Yes, in my eyes, she is still young. Perhaps she has the world’s best plastic surgeon. I pulled out my mirror from my purse and decided I could definitely use some work. At this point I was literally at the edge of my seat.
They said she has a child old enough to drive himself to school. That must suggest that carpooling or driving your children to and from school followed by piano lessons, gymnastics and play dates in the afternoon is stressful.
She has a husband who comes home to make her lunch. Let’s stop there for a moment. She has a husband…. Is that making her happy? Would she be happy with a boyfriend who makes her lunch? Is it the relationship, or the lunch part? I’m so confused. My husband used to make me dinner when I came home late from work. He stopped when I became vegetarian claiming he has no idea what to cook. Maybe I should hand him my vegetarian cookbook and I’ll become happier. It’s worth a try. I’m getting bored of thinking of something for dinner.
She has a managerial job and is well respected in her field. On top of that, she is able to telecommute one or two days a week. That’s it. She obviously makes the big bucks. What about all the people slaving away in their 6X10 cubicles all day, every day? Can they ever hope to achieve her level of happiness? Must we all be managers to be happy? Or maybe her income is at the perfect level of the happiness scale. Lower, she would be stressed out by bills, higher she would be bombarded by the overwhelming investment opportunities and unsure whether to buy a BMW for the status, or continue driving her economic and environmentally and politically correct Prius for another year.
They also mentioned that she has a good friend at work. That brings her happiness.
I disagree with all of this. What if she lost her job? In this economic environment that is a very real possibility. What if she found out her husband was cheating on her or her son was using drugs or was in a car accident? What if he was in a car accident while using drugs? Even with the job and the status, would she still be the happiest woman in America? Does she need all of these factors? And what about that friend at work? Is she having an affair with him? What if he wanted to have an affair? Would she still be friends with him? Would this cause her stress? OK, I have to assume, for argument’s sake, that her friend at work is either a woman or a happily married man or gay. I don’t want this friend to potentially ruin her marriage. Oh no, what if that friend wants to go out drinking at happy hour and her husband expected her home and they got in a fight?
I know. I’m analyzing this way too much. But I don’t think happiness should be job dependent. I don’t think happiness should depend on the age of your children or if your husband cooks for you. I think people can be single and be happy. I think people can be working two jobs and still find happiness. I think happiness comes from within. I believe that a job should provide you the freedom to find happiness in life, not to depend on that job for happiness. I think sometimes we are happy and sometimes we are sad. We have good days and we have bad days. We make the sale or we lose the sale, but we can still be happy.
I was in Costco last week. There was a lady handing out samples of Mango Salsa like this was the one product in the world that would bring happiness to everyone who tried it. My husband loves mangos and salsa so I took a sample and thanked the nice lady. When I turned around there was a cute little girl in a shopping cart. She must have been around two years old. She had a piece of cheese in her hand. She looked up at me holding my salsa sample. She showed me her cheese sample. Then she started laughing hysterically. I couldn’t help but laugh myself. Then her mother laughed as she looked at the two of us laughing at each other. Almost in tears, at that moment I felt like I was the happiest woman in America. A child’s laughter will always make me smile.
Want to be happy? Smile at someone. Chances are they will smile back.
What makes you happy?