If you’re happy and you know it
The Gallup organization has been taking public opinion polls for decades. Mr. Gallup, who put opinion polls “on the map,” died in 1984, but the Gallup polls are still going strong.
I remember wondering once if perhaps they would ever do a Gallup poll on what people thought about horses running at a fast pace. (Lame joke, I know.)
I reported on a Gallup poll here a few years ago when it was reported that Utah was the “happiest state in America.” It was big news in the Utah media at the time.
For fun, I looked to see what this poll was showing nowadays. The latest results I saw for the Gallup Poll was for 2016. It showed Utah ranked as #17 and Idaho as #18. Hawaii is number one. However, Provo-Orem was shown as the seventh happiest city in the country. Boulder, Colorado was ranked as number one.
I did a little more checking. A different organization, WalletHub also does research on happiness. I think they might be a little more scientific in their approach. They show Utah as #2 in the ranking of happiness. Minnesota is #1, and Aloha! – Hawaii is number three.
When I looked at this Gallup Poll the first time, I was interested in the kinds of questions used in that poll which determined happiness. Here are four of the 42 core questions, which were given to more than 350,000 people. Along with the questions, I’ll give you the answers I would have given had I been part of the survey. Here they are:
#1) Did you eat healthy all day yesterday?
Of course I ate healthy all day yesterday. Well, like most days, I ate healthy until about 7pm – then I ate anything and everything I could lay my hands on that had sugar or chocolate in it.
Three-day-old chocolate doughnut – inhaled. Girl Scout Thin Mints – ate one right after another knowing that our freezer supply is huge. We spent more on GS cookies than we do for real food for a couple of weeks.
#2) Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?
Yes, I smile and laugh a lot every day. It’s not a choice. It’s a mandatory coping mechanism.
#3) Do you feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live?
Yes, I do. But you have to remember that I got over my fear of cougars, bears and skateboarders a long time ago.
#4) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your job or the work you do?
I’m just happy to have a job. So I’d have to say, “satisfied.”
See how happy I am? Regardless of the question, a happy person in Utah, like myself, is going to give a “happy answer.”
I believe that Sanpeters are the happiest of the happy. We’ve convinced ourselves of it long ago, and perception is everything. Ever since I moved to Sanpete, over 33 years ago now, I’ve been told how lucky I am to live here. I’m not sure when I actually started believing it, but I do now, in fact, believe it.
We pat ourselves on the back and stand up in church and proclaim that we’re blessed to be here. If you used to live in Sanpete, Sanpeters are always hoping that you’ll come back where you belong.
If you’ve never lived in Sanpete – well then, we just feel sorry for you and hope that you’ll find some brief moments of joy in your miserable non-Sanpete existence. Especially if you live near a beach or in a tropical climate.
There really is a bond of happiness in Sanpete. Ironically, the happiness is boosted by the connection of the shared gloom of the cycles of economic hardships we have here. I know – it sounds like a paradox.
In my computer social networking career, I’ve discovered a group on “Facebook” which demonstrates the happiness bond among Sanpeters. Don’t ask me what it means exactly, but the group is called: “Ain’t No Peter Like A Sanpeter” The membership of this Facebook group is at 1,017 members when I last looked.
Many of the members are former/displaced/expatriate Sanpeters who wistfully post homesickness expressions onto the group page. Some of the discussion board topics have been: Swimmin’ at Flo Mitchell’s, Fairview Derby, Basin Drive-In, and Animals You Killed.
Despite polls and research, I think anyone can be happy anywhere. It’s more of an attitude than anything. Yes, I believe that it’s actually even possible to be happy living in Hawaii. And here in Sanpete, we’ll continue feeling happy and blessed – mahalo, very much.