Sunday, July 27, 2014

NYC, Most Unhappy? Not in This 10' X 12'

The Big Apple is a perfect moniker for the city: 'The apple is the cause of the fall of human happiness' ...'It's the symbol of that desire for something more. Even though paradise was paradise, they were still restless.'
-Jennifer Senior, "Some Dark Thoughts on Happiness," New York Magazine

The big news this week is that New York won the "Unhappiest City in America" title, coming in last in satisfaction measures from the National Bureau of Economic Research. To think, I had once considered working for those schmucks. They said:

One interpretation of these facts is that individuals do not aim to maximize self-reported well-being, or happiness, as measured in surveys, and they willingly endure less happiness in exchange for higher incomes or lower housing costs. 

No, but seriously... self-reported satisfaction ratings are only as good as the people reporting them. They have something to do with how we frame our questions about happiness. If we ask, are you happy with how small and dirty your apartment is versus, are you happy with how many of your goals you have been able to pursue here in New York, we'll get different responses.

I, for one, am learning and growing more here in NYC than ever before. I'm transforming into a more mature, dedicated, reasonable, loving and interesting person than I've ever been. But the cost of transformation is high...my living space is itty-bitty, my shoes are wearing out, my budget is a joke and the competition that built this city is the type of swim meet that might drown a person, even a person as bright and ambitious as me.

I'll do what the natives do, retell this new study's findings with a gleam in my eye. Can you believe it? NYC is an unhappy place!? Secretly patting myself on the back for finding a fulfilling life here.

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