Is happiness gap really that bad?

Is happiness gap really that bad?

I hope you might find interesting the happiness article below, from the Chicago Sun-Times…

Is happiness gap really that bad?

GENERATION Y | Women don’t need a report to realize their lives often are less than perfect

October 31, 2007


C’mon, get happy. Don’t worry, be happy. If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands. Happy birthday!

Just the words from a few obnoxious songs, but all with one message: get happy, idiot!

Feeling the demands to don that smile regardless of what’s going on in life? There’s the saying that all anyone needs is food, water and shelter. But lately I’ve gotten the feeling that happiness should be added to the list as well, purely by way of societal pressure.

When the “Happiness Gap” report came out last month stating that women aren’t as happy as they once were and men are actually happier, it added even more fuel to the fiery Mars vs. Venus dialogue. Men and (mostly) women came out with claws scratching, pronouncing the hardships of having to play parent and executive while having sparkling teeth and a perfect wardrobe.

Not to demean my healthy knowledge of words, but I’ve got two for you: duh, people. There are a few things that irk me about the reaction to this report.

First, I don’t think this report holds any water or significance; maybe women from the earlier study said they were happy because that’s what they were supposed to say, and women today are just being more honest. Maybe men just took a chill pill and women haven’t jumped on the pill-popping bandwagon quite yet. Amateur theories, at best, that I can’t quite back up, but two of many I could come up with.

Secondly, is happiness really what we aim for? I think nowadays happiness may be behind the wheel, but ‘success” is the backseat driver giving all the directions and aggravating the hell out of the emotion’s optimistic spirit. We are just hoping to fulfill the “lived a happy life” quota by keeping up with the tough standards we set on ourselves and others to be the Everyman and Everywoman of everything.

Our lives aren’t based on what makes us happy, but rather on what we hope will make us happy someday. For example: After working about 21 hours at the restaurant this past weekend, there probably were four instances in which I wanted to quit, two times I wanted to cry in frustration and a handful of times I wanted to just stomp my feet and throw a tantrum. I definitely wasn’t happy. So why not just quit and forget my worries? Because the money is good and money can rent me an apartment and pay my student loans, which in turn makes me happy.

We don’t need a report to tell us if we’re happy or not. We already know whether we hate our job or don’t feel like we spend enough time with friends and family. But I get the feeling nothing gets changed because if we’re truly happy, then what else in life is there to do? There’s always going to be something we need to change to become happy: get that raise, lower those work hours, have leaner legs than the woman you always bump into at the gym. We’re all contributing to this “gap” in happiness because if it’s not there, then we can’t strive for more.

Not long ago I told my boyfriend I wasn’t going to take a full-time job if I didn’t think it would make me happy. He told me good luck, and if I found one, let him know. I still haven’t, though I have found an internship that may eventually lead way to a happy career. With possible bliss in the future, “eventually” is all we need to get happy.