The Geography of Bliss

As a graduation present, my former boss, owner of an independent bookstore, gave me this book, by Eric Weiner. The basic idea is that he goes to countries and figures out what makes them happy (or not) to try to unlock the secret to happiness. It isn’t profound, but it is informational and entertaining.

Basically what he finds is, what we think will make us happy won’t make us happy. Having more money, being incredibly good-looking, etc, don’t have nearly as much of an impact on an individual’s personality than things like altruistic behaviors, feeling like one is making a difference, and healthy relationships with people.

Here’s my digression.

At Catacombs lately, we’ve branched out. Friends of friends have started joining the trivia team lately, which is really great. I have found myself to have a really big crush on one of them. The problem is my boyfriend, who is also a trivia regular. We’ve fallen into a rut, we’ve grown bored with each other. Which, I’m sure, raises the crush-level on this new guy even more. So I’m walking home, kind of visualizing hypothetical dating scenarios with the other guy (I would say fantasizing but I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea–it’s purely platonic visualization) and knowing it’s totally irrational, and he’s not the way he is in my imagination, and so on.

Here’s where the book comes back.

So I catch myself thinking, as Mr. Weiner does often in the book, and a question he poses to everyone he meets, “are you happy?” And then I realize I’ve fallen into the American happiness trap: We want more, we think that certain tangible things will add to our overall level of happiness, that somehow we can make our lives complete through accumulation. (Yes I am talking about the accumulation of men. Sounds awesome, right?) So while this new guy, or any new guy, would boost my mood temporarily, it’s not likely I would find anymore satisfaction with him than the one I’ve got. And if I’m doing this well on the one I’ve got after nearly 2 years, I may as well stick with it.

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~ by kiranapoleon on August 28, 2009.

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