The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Life

So, a dairy company comissioned an independent research firm to study what creates the happiest life. They studied 4,000 adults between 18 and 65, who rated their level of happiness on a scale of one to five. They then scientifically studied the qualities that make for the highest marks. Here is what they found (note, this is a summary chart of the averages):

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What does this mean for my life? 
Uninterrupted sleep: Hahaha, well I am screwed for the next couple months on that one. Pre-Tiana I was okay.
Commute to work:  Check. 20 minutes.
Home-cooked meals a week:  Check. Average 5. Much thanks to Dad on that one.
Exercise a week: Ouch. Need to work out a plan to fix that. Can't exercise til 6 week clearance on 10/27, so November will be the time to change that one.
Time spent outdoors: Check, I think. I've never really counted it, but I think with playdates, weekends, etc., I am probably pretty close to this. 
Time playing with children:  Ouch. If I average this out, I think it would be 2 hours a day, but it unfortunately is very uneven. When I am off work, it is like 4-6. When I am working, sometimes it is 0.  :-( 
Time with partner:  Ouch. 4 hours a day?  Maybe on weekends...
Watching TV:  Check. Normally that is right on track.
Nights Out a Week:  Ouch. I'd say I get one per month. I will have to use this research as evidence when talking to husband and mom.
Alcoholic Drinks/Week:  4? Wow, I am going to have to politely disagree with this one. I appreciate a drink every now and then, but 4 a week?  I think not.
Take out/per week (study was done in England)Check.  Go us.
Weekend breaks a year:  Check. Go us. I knew there was something scientific behind my justification of spending money on weekend getaways each year. 
Holidays abroad:  Um... no. I think this is where the fact that the study was done in England has an impact on the study. In England, you can visit other countries by train pretty darn easily, not to mention cheaply. Not so much for U.S. citizens. 
Hours at work: Ouch. If we were just counting even literally at work, this wouldn't ever work. My contract is an 8 hour day, and I almost always work through lunch. And I pretty much never leave at 3:30. And I almost always do work at home. I would like to say I could cut back, but I don't think I could. I have gotten better in some ways though. I do less grading at home now than I did my first year. 
Meals out a month: Well, close. I'd say we do probably 4. 
Shopping trips a month: Not sure how to calculate that one. Does Trader Joe's count? Target? I'd say with those it is way more, without those it is way less. 
Get home from work: Check, actually. 5:42 pm is actually very close to when I usually roll into the garage.

In summary, I think you have to take surveys like this with a grain of salt, but I think this overall shows I have a pretty well-balanced life. The few things that this brought to light for me are that I could probably spend more time playing with my kids, and I definitely need to spend more time exercising. I am aware that I spend too much time working, as does Marc (clearly), but there is very little that can be done to fix that.

How about you? Any revelations?

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