A NYT opinion article quoted a study that ranked NY last in happiness rating .  Tons of NYers were up in arms saying how the study was flawed, or how the residents of higher ranking states were ignorant (using the term ‘ignorance is bliss’) and therefore happier, or NYers have higher expectations from life and therefore ‘less easily satisfied’ compared to their counterparts.  Interestingly, AZ is ranked high (#5).  I don’t know how much credit I would give this study, but anecdotally, I would have to agree with the findings.  Of course the study looked at state, and not the cities (i.e., NYC) and so it’s hard to say whether NYC dragged down the rest of the state or vice versa.  However, based on personal experience I would have to say hands down that NYC dragged the rest of the state down to last place.  

Ever since moving to AZ, J and I have found more ‘inner peace’.  We often joke that we can actually ‘hear ourselves think’.  No longer do we have to shield our ears from the blast of horns and shriek of emergency sirens; or suffer from sleepless nights thanks to the idling ‘Fresh Direct’ truck right below our bedroom window.  No longer do I have to listen to some stranger’s cell phone conversation on the streets or be subjected to co-workers’ use of profanity as if it’s going out of style (imagine the F-word being used as a verb, noun, adjective, adverb all in one sentence).

Aside from the noise, pollution, congestion, and lack of courtesy towards each other, I think the biggest issue for me was the ‘pressure-cooker’ environment in NYC.  Back in NY, I always felt I had to measure up to others but couldn’t.  There was always someone more successful or more well off.  So it was always a rat race, and admittedly I had fallen into that trap for years.  I knew it was a trap, because unless you’re Warren Buffet, there will always be someone more successful/well off than you; and I knew I wasn’t happy, but I couldn’t pull myself out of it until I moved out to AZ.  Since our move, it took a year or two to get used to the lack of diversity & sophistication, and the paucity of the ‘better things in life’; but once I got into the groove, I realized I was & am much happier.  It took a move out of the city to get my priorities straightened out.  I’m am no longer preoccupied with what other people ‘have achieved’ and ‘have’.  I have slowed down to appreciated what I have achieved and have, and enjoy every little thing in life (minus work of course).  Maybe ignorance is bliss, but at the end of the day I’m happier, and that’s what really matters.

Interestingly, J & I have had less discord since moving out here (not like we were arguing much back in NY), to the point that we no longer have any arguments (I honestly can’t remember the last time we had a spat).  He attributes that to the fact that we’ve been married for 6 years now, and we’ve gotten to know each other so well that little things are just not worth wasting time getting upset over; but I think we’re just more ‘in tuned’ with each other now that all the ‘extraneous stuff’ is gone.

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