In a recent poll, it was revealed that 21% of the residents of Metro Vancouver were happy, 34% were comfortable, 27% were uncomfortable, and 18% were miserable. The poll was conducted June 1-3 and is considered accurate plus or minus 3.4%, 19 times out of 20.
A quote comes to mind which has been attributed to a number of people including Benjamin Disraeli which states, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.” Why do I suggest that? To my way of thinking, if you want to take a poll on happiness, you should first understand what happiness is.
“That’s What Happiness Is,” was a song by Ray Coniff back in the sixties which states, “Different things for different people, that’s what happiness is.” The song then gave numerous examples such as, “To the golfer, it’s a hole in one, to the father, it’s a brand new son.”
The happiest people in this survey were over 55 years old, owned their own homes, and lived in a household of no more than two people. In other words, no mortgage, no kids, no time stuck in traffic to and from work, and financially secure. If that is what happiness is, everyone should look forward to getting old instead of trying to hold onto their youth.
There again, I question the happiness of the elderly. Although they may have fewer bills, they are often lonely, have health problems, and are dependent on others. Does that sound happy to you?
For a poll to get such results, you must wonder what kind of questions were asked. I doubt if they asked any of the following:
You do not have to wait until you get old to be happy about all these things. They await you.
I traveled the lonely road of unhappiness for many angry miles over far too many years to pin my well-being on financial concerns or meaningless polls. My happiness is not based on the weather, money, who wins The Amazing Race, or the actions of others. Neither is it reliant on me getting my way or things turning out as I expect.
I am happy because I have peace of mind, purpose and direction in my life. I express my gratitude every day for all my many blessings, for the challenges in my life through which I continue to grow and learn, and for the opportunities I have to reach out and help others. All those things makes me who I am, a very happy man.