The metrics of joy

When I was teaching in Russia, teaching materials were sparse.  People hoarded stuff, chalk was a precious commodity, books were an investment to be protected, photocopies came only with connections.  One could get stuff, but there wasn’t exactly this overflowing supply cabinet where you went to get what you needed.

I used anything I got my hands on.

One time, I somehow came across a chunk of many times mimeographed and then photocopied text.  The typeface now gloopy, the paper smudgy, the origin obscured entirely.  No date, no author.  It intrigued me at once.  The title was “A study in the measurement of happiness” or something to this effect.

And so it was, genuinely, some scientific study that had been done on a sample of random people that inquired to the most happiness they felt in their lives.

The results showed that the majority of people reported that the time when they were the most happy was when they were early in their marraige and had small children.

This absolutely intrigued me.  What was so special about that?  How could little kids make people report so much happiness?

Remember, I was all of 25/26 years old, single and no kids.

I used the text to teach because the findings of peoples happiness baffled me.  Why wouldn’t it be a vacation memory?  Or a traveling experience? Or a time when one was single, and so free?  What was so flippin special about being married and having young kids?

Well, I just went into my daughters room.  She is 3 and a half and sleeping down for the night.  Before that J and I watched an utterly worthless and forgettable movie while coaxing our newborn into a sleepy state.  I don’t think I have ever seen J so taken with another sentient being as he is with our new little Sylvie.

And watching that, and seeing AJ dozing sprawled out all over as she is, having watched her grow for the past 3 years…even with all the traveling I did in my 20s, would have to agree with that piece of text I used to teach English that reported that young kids is a good time.

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