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I assumed like any average American suburbanite, I’m happier than average. After taking a happiness quiz, it proclaimed my happiness is a B+.
My inside voice is saying some brash comments about how a quick quiz can’t be accurate. Unless I had an A+ then it would have been 100% accurate.
My inner voice is expressing a kneejerk reaction because my assumptions are being assaulted.
I don’t like it.
I’m here to increase my happiness, or at least, learn about ways to hack happiness. Currently, I’m ankle-deep in The Blue Zone of Happiness, and I took their online True Happiness Test by Blue Zone.
I would have bet some shinny items that I was at least an A- but the test suggests otherwise.
The Blue View
A blue zone is where the oldest humans live. These aren’t the typical centenarians rolling through the quiet halls of assisted living. These fearless folks are living their golden years in ideal health and happiness. When humans are healthy, chances are better than good, they’re happy too.
I work with a few centenarian candidates, which encouraged my natural curiosity at what makes these 100-year olds hardier than average. This is why I picked up the blue zone book from the library hold.
The quiz prodded information about my personal and professional life in a full range of prompts from commuting distances to rewarding experiences with a few surprises along the way. Only one question about finances! One!
I plucked along realizing the areas I was faulty in before selecting my response, the hesitation was a giveaway. At times, I wanted to put more when the reality was less.
I hoped for high marks. Instead, I have plenty of room for improvement.
The Riveting Results
The online quiz doesn’t share specifics about where I should improve but examining their standard suggestions, it’s clear where I’m lacking, the social sphere.
This is the part where I want to wail against the injustice of the pandemic and its restrictions on group sizes and encouraging antisocial behavior. Even in the before times, my introvert ruled my social sphere.
My introvert is fueled by quiet time and solo hobbies like reading, drawing, and sleeping. Joining a club, volunteering, and increasing contact with at least 3 friends is their advice.
I had hoped socializing with Mr. BuLL would count, but it specifically says (because I checked more than once), friends.
An Evolution of a Solution
Since my introvert is on full, awkward display, I have hesitations about going all-in with social shenanigans.
I have to pretend I’m an extrovert and I have some experience with this.
When I’m lacking in the sleep department, I wake up cranky. When I realize the crank is back, I smile. It’s a fake smile I plaster on my face as I speed towards work on my 15-minute commute.
But, by the time I get to work, I forget it’s fake and just keep on smiling. Brain surgery, firefighting, and washing your hands are not times to fake it until you make it, but it works with smiling.
As with any solution, I will practice their suggestions before jumping into the deep end. As a former lifeguard, I have pulled plenty of soggy humans from the deep end when inexperience collides with the six feet of water.
In a few weeks, I have a federally mandated furlough which will free up 40 hours a week. That time will be spent doing many things, but some new additions will be to the social sphere.
I can slowly layer them into my work-free routine and see which are worth holding onto once I return to the 8-5.
Done & Fun
Visiting friends (made through work), joining a local club/group, and volunteering is my suggested shortlist for increasing my social skills.
There are a couple of ladies who I adore at work. They are spitfires of wit, wisdom, and wisecracks. I would like to visit them during my furlough. Being older ladies, I plan to visit them since their mobility isn’t quite as quick.
As far as joining a local group, I have zero thoughts or ideas outside of asking Google. Of the social suggestions I should pursue, I have the least amount of experience with groups and clubs.
I didn’t participate in many during my younger years outside of a couple of groups during college. It feels like squeezing into a wet suit; cumbersome, infrequent, and awkward for everyone who happens to make eye contact. This social shuffle will probably take the most work because it’s the most challenging.
Volunteering. The old giving back without pay. It’s a struggle when I’m focused on being paid for my time, but I will have plenty of unpaid time in the furlough. On more than one occasion, I have considered volunteering at the local animal shelter because the facility is close, the residents are fluffy, and prefer being pet which I’m happy to help with.
One excuse of serious concern is that I will go from 0 to 7 cats, but their need is greater than my concern.
Don’t wait to be happy. Don’t wait until you get everything figured out, until you are clutter free or debt free or married or single. Don’t wait for the world to be right.Be More with Less
Love, Laugher, Lattes
I didn’t realize happiness would require so much work.
My comfort zone is getting uncomfortable. I spend most of my waking hours socializing at work because no one wants to chat with a grumpy ranger, and I don’t want to be the grumpy ranger.
My comfort zone is colliding with suggested advice and the fallout is a flash of resistance. But, if I want to change the B+ to an A, I’ll need to adjust.
If I change nothing, nothing will change.