In this past Monday’s USA Today, columnist Gail Sheehy suggested that 50-year-old Mary Claire Orenic of Southern California may be “one of the happiest women in America” – at least according to Gallup’s Well-Being Index.
“I’m lucky to be married to a man I adore and living in a community we love,” she told the paper.
Gallup’s index evaluates the health of your personal and professional life, as well as your mental/emotional state and body mass index.
Here is the checklist as it relates to women ages 45-55. According to Gallup, the more items you can check off, the better your well-being. How do you fare?
· College degree; some graduate school; professional or executive class
· Family income of $120,000+
· Commute under ten minutes
· Professional full-time job
· Good physical and emotional health
· BMI (body mass index) under 30
· Exercise 30-45 minutes, 6 days a week
· Married and never divorced
· 2 children (Gives birth between ages 27-36)
· No caregiving for young children or sickly parents, in-laws, spouse
· Has 4-12 intimate friends
It’s interesting to see what the world values. I certainly don’t subscribe to all of these standards, especially those that subtly suggest children are a burden.
In the broader checklist, the polling group suggests that thriving people tend to be more “spiritual” – but such a term can mean just about anything and everything – and it often does.
In the temporal sense, these parameters cannot guarantee our health, wealth or happiness. From an eternal perspective, my faith in Jesus Christ reminds me that even if (when!) life doesn’t go my way, it is the Lord who ultimately bestows and ensures my ultimate well-being. We are not to chase after the material-based “good life,” as those things are fleeting at best. They also have nothing to do with that which will stand the test of time. So rather than pursuing Gallup’s index of well-being, we would be wise to pursue God’s ideal and point-of-view. As Solomon so eloquently put into words:
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.