Random stuff.

drive by post

The deadline ducks are quacking at my heels. So, two things:

1) Women are less happy than they once were, according to new studies as reported by David Leonhardt in the NYT. Sample quote:

Ms. Stevenson was recently having drinks with a business school graduate who came up with a nice way of summarizing the problem. Her mother’s goals in life, the student said, were to have a beautiful garden, a well-kept house and well-adjusted children who did well in school. “I sort of want all those things, too,” the student said, as Ms. Stevenson recalled, “but I also want to have a great career and have an impact on the broader world.”

The piece is interesting in its own right but really begs the question -- should women go back to having smaller (in terms of number, not importance) expectations? Is that the path to happiness?

2) I can never get through an entire issue of Vanity Fair or Harpers or the New Yorker before the next one arrives, which is why I don't subscribe because the guilt that all of those piled-up unread issues induces. Still, it's nice to see that VF is putting the good stuff online, like this piece on Stephen Colbert. The Colbert Report isn't a fave of mine, but I've always found the guy himself oddly fascinating.

Right, ducks.


I think simpler expectations are the key to everyone's happiness, male or female. I know my hubby beats himself up alot because as a teen he'd set a goal of making six figures by 30. He's 35 and not making six figures and uses it to make himself unhappy. I on the other hand just wanted to find a job I enjoyed doing that had something to do with the printed word; my successes in my field have been satisfying. Would I have been more successful with a higher goal? Maybe, but I might have been more unhappy.

Simpler or just less detailed? Among my circle of friends, those who have very *specific* life goals:—"I'll be remarried by the time I'm 40" or "I will found a ground-breaking and amazingly successfull non-profit!" or "I will be a millionaire by the time I'm 35!"—are less happy than those who have vaguer goals (e.g., "I will find a job I enjoy" or "I will have a family" or "I will travel extensively").

I suspect that the more detailed your image of your goal or dream, the less likely you are to be satisfied with the reality.

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