Looking For Happiness

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

― Guillaume Apollinaire

Every Sunday evening my wife and I, and my two sisters who live in other states, talk together by phone for an hour or two, catching up with each other’s life the past week.  One Sunday recently we, again, talked about how we’d all rather live some place other than where we do, after listening to one sister expound on how nice her vacation in Canada was. We’ve all talked about Canada before, how friendly they are “Up North”, and how much better some important things are there compared to here. So I decided to see if there are other countries worth looking into and here’s what I’ve found, according to the World Happiness Report Update 2016, released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations:

The 10 Happiest Countries:

10. Sweden
9. Australia
8. New Zealand
7. Netherlands
6. Canada
5. Finland
4. Norway
3. Iceland
2. Switzerland
1. Denmark

Interesting that half are Scandinavian, only two in Europe proper, two at the bottom of the world and the remaining one next door. (By the way, the U.S. ranks 13th.)

I also found that, with the exceptions of Canada and Australia/New Zealand, all are very expensive places to live (high taxes and cost of living, even though you get back way more for your buck than here in the States – quality education, free or heavily regulated healthcare, great infrastructure, to name a few) and then there’s the language problem. And except for Australia/New Zealand, there’s the issue of lots of cold and snow. But Australia/New Zealand don’t allow immigrants over the age of 50.

So that leaves the only realistic option as Canada – they are the most like us at our best (as or more friendly), far better than us at our worst (egotistic and violent), speak American, have much better educational and healthcare systems, and only moderately higher taxes and, apparently, are twice as happy with their world than we are. And I think their minor differences culturally would be easy to adapt to.

But what if we want to stay in the States? Number 13 isn’t all that bad. So which cities are the happiest to live in? According to Time Magazine:

U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest reported happiness:

1. Charlottesville, VA
2. Rochester, MN
3. Lafayette, LA
4. Naples, FL
5. Baton Rouge, LA
6. Flagstaff, AZ
7. Shreveport, LA
8. Houma, LA
9. Corpus Christi, TX
10. Provo, UT

Right off the bat Corpus Christi is a “No way, Jose” for lots of reasons, but primarily because it’s in Tex… (I can’t bring myself to say that word. Maybe because I’m a Redskins fan.) Two others are desert and the rest (except Rochester) are all in the South, a nice place to visit, and I was raised there, but outside the big cities way to peckerwood for my likes. So, Minnesota? Could I get use to tons of snow? No. 

But parts of Canada get their fair share of it, also. So where in Canada do they get the least snow? According to Yahoo:

Vancouver. Been there and loved it. But it’s bloody expensive. Gotta keep looking, I guess.

Or just learn to just be happy where I am.

– Bill

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