Do you ever read a newspaper article that ticks you off?
In this morning’s USA Today, a full page is devoted to what they call “the Well-Being Index.” A beautiful 50-year-old skinny lady named Mary Claire Orenic is shown stretching yoga-like in front of a lush garden area. The caption across the top of the article asks, “Is this America’s happiest woman?”
She might be. I hope she is. However, not enough information is given for the reader to make that determination.
What information is given? What is the “Well-Being Index?”
I’m glad you asked.
It’s divided into three sections: Work, Health, Relationships.
Under “Work,” some of the ideals are: a college degree with some grad school; professional or executive class, and a family income of $120,000.
You didn’t finish high school? and you make considerably less than that? Sorry. You can’t be as happy..
Under “Health,” ideals are–and this is good–excellent physical and emotional health, BMI (body mass index) under 30 (30 and above is obese), and you exercise for 30-45 minutes at least 6 days a week.
Too bad if you are overweight or skinny and don’t belong to a gym. Can’t be happy.
Under “Relationships,” ideals are “married and never divorced,” 2 children (“Gives birth between ages 27-36); no caregiving for young children or sickly parents, in-laws or spouse; has 4-12 intimate friends.)
You have to take care of elderly parents or a handicapped child? Sorry, Charlie. Your happiness potential just tanked.
You can see why I did not care at all–not at all!–for this little exercise.
Now, to be fair, I imagine the author–well-known writer Gail Sheehy–would say she did this to spark the very kind of discussion we’re having here. That she didn’t mean it to be the final word on the subject.
Good thing. Because it ain’t nearly the final word.