Given my last post with the hideous happy face, thought it would be good time to trot out a pretty funny NYT Magazine article from July: “Happiness: A User’s Manual.” It offers the latest information on who’s happy, who isn’t, and why. The good news: “Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to be depressed than members of other professions.” The strange but predictable bit:
On a day-to-day basis, caring for children creates roughly the same level of satisfaction as washing the dishes. In fact, surveys of parents invariably find a clear dip in happiness after the Blessed Miracle of Childbirth, which continues unabated for twenty years — bottoming out during adolescence — and only returns to pre-birth levels when the child finally leaves home.
Well, that explains the European demographic implosion. If I may speak on behalf of the rest of the human race — those of us who keep on breeding, misery and all — I would say the surveys are, as they say, objectively true but subjectively false.
Wretched parenting situations occur with appalling frequency, but they aren’t necessarily experienced as such. Personally, I could have done without the Blessed Miracle of Childbirth, in which I participated in a fifth-wheel “coaching” capacity — I believe future technology will make it possible for babies to hatch in the microwave. But watching the kids grow up has been a wild, strange adventure, better than any movie — and well worth the exorbitant price of admission.