Pinky Pie

I’m happy, dammit, & Me

Posted on: March 6, 2010

Keep smilin'

(We interrupt this radiation countdown for the weekend as I have no treatments onSaturdays and Sundays. Thus, we have this change of topic.)

Happiness. How can I possibly have it when, according to the 2009 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, I live in the 27th happiest state in the union.

With Wisconsin having a happiness rating of 66 out of 100, I’m feeling pretty blue. Hawaii, which was number one, had a happiness rating of 70.2.

Of course it makes me wonder if the survey was conducted in January or February. That could give a decided edge to Hawaii.

But I must admit that Minnesota – just across the Mississippi River from me and where my son Michael goes to school, was number four on the happiness hit parade at 67.8 percent. Kansas, where my daughter Maggie lives and works, was number ten.

It’s OK that my kids live in happier states than me. As a mom, you want your kids’ lives to be better than your own. But do we in Wisconsin really need to be 27th?

You can read more about this survey at:

It surveyed 350,000 people looking at these sub-categories:

  • Life evaluation (self-evaluation about your present life situation and anticipated one in five years);
  • Emotional health;
  • Work environment (such as job satisfaction);
  • Physical health;
  • Healthy behavior;
  • Basic access (access to healthcare, a doctor, a safe place to exercise and walk, as well as community satisfaction)

How can I be happy in such an unhappy place like Wisconsin? I don’t know but I am personally happy despite going through chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer.

I actually feel stronger and happier than I have felt in a very long time. I joke, “I don’t know what they put in those chemo drugs, but I am happier than any woman in this situation has a right to be.” I think it’s because I feel pride in my resilience.

At any rate, why look a gift happiness in the mouth?

I’ve often told my kids, “You are in charge of your own happiness.” No one can make you happy. You have to make yourself happy. It’s how you respond to the tough stuff in life that counts

I was not born with that knowledge. In fact, I went through periods in my life in high school and college when I was terribly insecure and unhappy.

What’s the secret of happiness? That same report at gives these five tips for happiness:

1. Pick good parents. “In Happy Land, genes trump environmental factors, according to the experts,” the study said.  I had very good parents and I’m hoping my kids think the same.

2. Give it away. One study said giving away $5 a day makes you happier on any given day and those who perform good deeds – mitzvahs – are happier and feel their life has a greater purpose.

3. Ponder this. We have more resilience than we think and the opportunity to deal with difficult situations. The report quoted Winston Churchill as saying, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

4. Work out. Exercise is good for the mind and body. I hope my walking 3.5 miles a day at the mall counts, although we are suppose to keep challenging our body and vary our workout.  Occasionally, being the rebel that I am, I go in the opposite direction for my final lap.

5. Live long. With age, we seem to be “more included to filter out the negatives while focusing on what they enjoy.”

As far as that last suggestion about living long, that’s the goal. Stay tuned.


1 Response to "I’m happy, dammit, & Me"

Susan..Sorry to hear you are batteling bc. Sincerely hope you have the best results from your radiation. I lost my wife to it just three years ago.

I was your dentist when you first came to town and lived on 23rd & Cass, Also recall you had another family tradegy with the loss of a child. Best Wishes

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