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Interesting v. Happy

February 17, 2010

I follow Penelope Trunk’s Brazen Careerist blog and was intrigued by a recent post of hers on a happy life versus an interesting one.  I took her test which is supposed to tell me whether I am happy or interesting and scored a -2.  This means I am either suspiciously well balanced or lacking a self-identity.

Penelope blogs a lot about happiness.  She admits to being obsessed with the topic and if you’ve ever read her posts you will know that she backs up her opinions with lots of references to research.  She believes that a person can either have a happy life or an interesting one, but not both.  Penelope writes that happiness is rooted in complacency while interesting is rooted in the lack of complacency.  It got me thinking about what kind of life I have and if that is the life I want to have.

I work in the field of domestic violence.  This might be interesting, but it is almost never happy.  The fact that I’ve worked in this position for 13 years is flat-out depressing.  I’ve lived in the same city for the past 22 years: happy, not very interesting.   I did move away from home to go to college, however: a fact that I find both interesting and happy.  I generally don’t like change which makes me comfortable although not necessarily happy; definitley not all that interesting.  Some of my closest relationships are with people who have beliefs and opinion the complete opposite of mine on many topics: interesting.  I am interested in a wide variety of subjects and am constantly learing new things, so that should make my life more interesting except I don’t exactly put what I learn into practice (if I read a book on architecture I am not going to go out and design a building).  I am fairly liberal in my social and politcal views which makes me unhappy when a Republican is in office.  I have opinions on almost anything which makes me annoying.  The only thing I am nationally known for is my Twitter reality TV spam.

I would like to be the charming, witty person at the dinner party who can expound with expertise on any subject: interesting.   I would like to visit far off lands and commune with the natives: interesting.  I would also like to have a house and a yard and a kid and stability: happy.  I would like all my vacations to be at a beach resort: happy. 

Penelope says that she would rather be interesting than happy.  I’m not sure which I would rather be.  I wonder if you can have an interesting life for awhile, shunning your family while living abroad, making friends with skinny people and visiting your shrink, then eventually settle down to your house with your 2.4 kids and your cubic zirconia and be a happy, fat,  Republican with jacked-up eyebrows.  Either way, I think it is an interesting topic and something to think about.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. carrieb permalink
    February 18, 2010 2:38 am

    Do happy people not care if they are uninteresting because the are so darned happy? Sounds kinda like Stepford Wives….

  2. February 19, 2010 2:09 pm

    You can be happy some of the time and you can be interesting some of the time. You can be both happy and interesting some of the time, but you can’t be happy or interesting or happy and interestig all the time. Just saying.

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