After spending yesterday afternoon collating all the results for Dr Anonymous’s clinic this morning, as specified last week, Dr Anonymous has not made it in. Le sigh. His junior had to carry the whole clinic (but she did bring me a chocolate shaped like a dodo from Mauritius, hurrah!)
I am still ferociously behind, and also pondering the work-life balance I have painted myself into a corner with. So I spent lunchtime looking up articles on eudaimonics. When I could be working through lunch on healthcare, go figure.
This is because I found, completely by accident, that someone who knows what they’re doing is working on a better plan to increase the world’s happiness than my ‘give everyone massive egos’ idea. Thank god for that. What brings happiness? he says. Giving. Giving brings happiness – working for others when you absolutely have to is a Chore, but to do so out of generosity of the heart? Is worth all the shiny things currently being manufactured in China.
But lo, according to the results, I am happier than eighty percent of people in my age group, or educational level, or emplyment level. Odd, no? And this despite my Celtic heritage and periodic lapses into what Katherine Kerr’s Deverry series calls Hieradd (and Winston Churchill, his ‘black dog days’). Possibly, tis my own daftness, or possibly, some sort of genetic trait, although obviously very possibly influenced by the weather – why do we think the Highlands gave us Calvinism while Rastafarianism is from sunnier climes? (Not only was epilepsy apparently running at thirty times the usual rate in the Highlands, pre-clearances; many of us also carry the Ginger Gene. References not available because I am not a professional and I read it when I was still at school.)
But what are these ‘how happy are you’ results based on? Well, self-assessment. I had to answer lots of questions like, How often do your friends say you’re a good leader? (Hint: if the answer is, never! either you are not – or you need different friends). And, How often do you do something important? Well, what counts as Important? The typing? ‘Tis healthcare, true, but since a trained chimp could type, I don’t count it. The dishes? well, since the leaving of the flatmate, they are merely my dishes, they don’t benefit anyone else, so I don’t count it. The course? Aimed at my financial and satisfaction benefit, so I don’t count it. The keeping in touch with people? Well and do I have proof it makes the world a better place? And so on. Nothing I do is worth a Nobel prize, or directly saves a life, so yeah, nothing I do is ‘important’ in my eyes, and no, on the grand scale, neither is my life, and yeah, might just have something to do with the hieradd, that.
And yet, I’m still outrageously happy compared to most people who took these tests (not, admittedly, likely to be a statistical sample of the average population, because if they were happy, would they be looking for ways to be even happier? Especially if eudaimonics is what makes you happy – they’d be too busy!) Go figure.
On the way home, I stopped in for a glass of wine, with Sums, and then ate pizza, washed down with more Sums, this time on Friction. Yeah, there is a definite difference between eudaimonics and the life I am living, which is awash with (small amounts of) pleasure, and yet rather light on the ‘doing useful things’.
Well, let me amend that; it’s plenty full of drudgey useful things, and someone has to do em. It’s just, in every relationship I’ve ever been in, even just a living-together-as flatmates one, it’s always me. Just once, I’d like for someone to be picking up my socks, just so I can see what it’s like. Only I wouldn’t, because that would make me feel uncomfortable and like a slacker and I can’t imagine anyone doing that and not minding – they’d need rewarded with shiny things I can’t afford. Ho hum.
Anyway. I need to do more for other people. On my own terms, of course, hee. I really would like to be able to go out and do voluntary work with kids, for instance; but I am not naturally attracted to it and never know what to say to even non-disturbed kids. It has been tried before and with notable ill-effect. I think, my skill-set does not match what is required, and if I can salve my conscience by being intrepid in other ways and getting sane for a couple of years, I can at least then attempt it without doing actual Damage.
And that is my plan! as Barry the Timesprout said when he awoke to find himself in the wrong chapter.