Sunday, April 24, 2005

Half-changed World/How to be happy

Elizabeth from Half-Changed World showed me the way to this post, which I really like, so, continuing the "what is a satisfied life" thread, here to read and ponder:

How to be happy

In the online edition of the Washington Post, there's an interesting article today on Six Ways to Be Happy with Your College Choice. It could just as easily have been called Six Ways to Be Happy With Your Work-Life Choices.

The list, based on a book called The Paradox of Choice, by Barry Schwartz, is:

1) Listen to your gut instincts -- don't over-analyze.
2) Count your blessings.
3) Be happy about "good enough" and don't worry that you might not have achieved the absolute maximum level of happiness.
4) Regret less.
5) Remember that the grass is always greener on the other side, and don't take it as a sign that you've made the wrong choice.
6) Avoid conversations about your choices with people who don't follow the above rules.

Or as our grandparents might have said "you pays your money, and you takes your choices."

It's good to remember that choices are rarely permanent -- you can stay home for a while, then go back to work, or vice versa -- but it doesn't do anyone good to constantly second guess themselves.


Something about the grandparent quote got to me: I could actually imagine my dead grandfather telling me that. Now at the same time, I can hear my part in this imagined conversation. I would be saying that choices are more complicated, that we don't have all the choices we want and need. But there's something about this post, in it's distillation of "live your life" that appeals to me.


Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Hello Miriam:

This is unrelated to your post, but I just found it and thought you would like it. Excerpted from an interview with Ursula LeGuin:

"A lot of people are getting tired of the huge pool of metaphors that have to do with war and conflict. The "war against drugs" is an obvious example of this. So is the proliferation of battle metaphors, such as being a warrior, fighting, defeating, and so on. In response, I could say that once you become conscious of these battle metaphors, you can start "fighting" against them. That's one option. Another is to realise that conflict is not the only human response to a situation and to begin to find other metaphors, such as resisting, outwitting, skipping, or subverting. This kind of consciousness can open the door to all sorts of new behaviour."

I would add that the word "war" has a strong referent in America at the moment -- a "mommy war" implies a pretty vicious encounter.

Miriam Peskowitz said...

Thanks, Jen, and welcome to my blog--why can't I find yours? Can you help?