Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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01/29/2008: "Happiness, is a warm gun"

Yesterday morning was the first day of the new year to reserve park shelters for the summer. Aaron and I took a thermos of hot coffee and stood out in front of City Hall at 7:20am so we could be first in line to get the shelters at Sandy Beach for July 19th (our wedding day!).

It was beautiful outside. The moon was enormous and we got to watch it set behind a mountain ridge. All of the trees were in silhouette against the moon and it reminded me of the movie ET. It was very romantic. (the moon, not ET).

Later, on my drive to work, the sunrise was equally impressive, I found myself smiling like a crazy person. Then on the news tonight I heard this report:

"Happiness is a U-shaped curve according to this research. As middle-age approaches the average person will slide down the U to hit rock bottom at the age of 44.

He says there was a remarkable uniformity in the findings which applied to men, women, single and married people, with or without children, and to the rich and the poor."

So, I have that to look forward to, just a few years down the road.

I guess the reasoning is that you start life out with lots of expectations "And you discover as you go through your 30s and don't achieve them and that's a painful realization." Could it be true? Is there anyone out there who can confirm this from personal experience (i.e. that 44 is happiness rock bottom?)

Happiness has always intrigued and often eluded me. A study at the University of California showed that we're all born with a happiness "set point". 50% of our happiness is determined by our genes at birth! Then 40% by our intentional activities...and the only a measly 10% is actually determined by life events.

So, I'm not sure what is causing me to feel such a warm glow lately, but waiting with my honey to secure our wedding locale in 2 degree weather while drinking hot coffee and watching the moon set over a snowy Alaskan mountain range...well, that couldn't have hurt.

Replies: 6 Comments

on Wednesday, January 30th,">Karen said
Elise you have been on my favorites page forever....missed you.... was about to delete.....then you came back! So happy for you, that you have found love!!!! So how did you two meet?
Mazel Tov,

on Wednesday, January 30th, Elise said

Hi Karen, yes...I'm back. I realized that with blogging you have to pretty much do it everyday (or there abouts) or else you'll get out of the habit and you will eventually not be keeping it up at all!

So, I made a deal with myself to blog daily for awhile to get back in the habit, even if I don't have anything particularly worthy to talk about.
Since I'm having to come up with new material everyday, I'll post the "Story of How We Met" as my entry for thanks for helping me come up with ideas!

on Wednesday, January 30th,">Rob Roys said

You read too many studies. Studies that do nothing other than gve you something to worry about.

Zombies. That is what you should worry about.

on Wednesday, January 30th, Elise said

Hey Rob, I *do* worry about zombies! I'm an equal opportunity worrier.

btw, did you go see Sunshine last night at the Silverbow? I want to see it again on the big screen.

on Wednesday, January 30th, Anonymous said

An anonymous reader sent me this message about the happiness curve and I wanted to share it.

"I had to comment to you, though, on the 44/happiness curve. I just turned 45 last month, so I can comment on 44. Iíve got to say Ö I had kind of a depressing year. If 44 is most peoplesí unhappiest year, that gives me reason for hope! I think Iíve been doing a lot of assessing and reassessing of my life, critiquing what Iíve accomplished (and what I havenít), where I am professionally, personally, socially, artistically, etcÖ Iím more and more aware of whole categories of people who are younger than me, and I sometimes feel like my life has been a big waste. It also didnít help when I went to a new GYN last spring and she referred to me as pre-menopausal. I know she said PRE, but still Ö she used THAT word while talking about me!!! For years (my husband) and I figured we probably didnít want kids, but once I had moved seamlessly into the ďtoo old to breedĒ category, it started freaking me out. So there you go. Iím not despondent right now or anything, but I can definitely relate to that study."

on Wednesday, January 30th, Elise said bring up a great point...if 44 is the bottom of the bucket, then getting older than 44 is a good thing, you're back on the uptake.

It's kind of like the sunlight in Alaska the summer when the days are super long everything seems shiny and full of promise. The we hit the summer solstice (June 22?) and the days start getting shorter. I mean, June 23rd is almost as sunny as the 22nd, but there is that psychological understanding that it's getting darker.

Everyone's energy levels seem to start going down and down and down until the winter solstics (Dec. 22nd) and after that, the days start getting brighter and people's energy levels start to rise.

So maybe turning 44 is a little like the winter solstice? And each year from there on out will keep getting brighter.

Until you die.
I hope I've helped...