Happiness is North of Here

Finland has been named the happiest country in the world, followed by Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Switzerland.  (Sweden was 9th, in case you were wondering what happened to rest of the frosty North.)   What do all those countries have that Americans don’t?  Uh, gun laws, sane leaders, and socialism?  Just guessing.

(The US was eighteenth, which is a freaking miracle considering the state of the nation.)

How were you happy this week?  And were you in Finland while experiencing this?




67 thoughts on “Happiness is North of Here

  1. I finished my grad courses and found out this weekend that i passed my last paper!

    Very happy to be done with that.

    1. Well done!! That’s an impressive achievement. I’ve got 2 months left on my final grad project. Won’t know what to do with myself when I’m done.

  2. I got a new contract this week – a collection of Christmas stories. The first time that I didn’t sell a finished manuscript but was commissioned to write something new. It’s due next February, so I’ve got plenty of time. Sounds like fun!

  3. I went to the “March for Our Lives” rally in DC and found it very inspiring. All those kids were amazing and give me more hope for our future.

  4. I’m happy I’m back home from the Canadian Arctic, an exhausting 12 days.

    MIL palliative, death, funeral, eulogy, and the aftermath with grieving relatives. She was the first in many accomplishments, a pioneering woman who spoke her mind, saw a need and filled it, fed, clothed, found jobs, and was a pain in the a** for every political level including giving the Feds the gears almost weekly in the newspaper column she wrote for forty years. It was my privilege to be her daughter in law. She was exasperating. She was one of a kind. She was a heroine. She inspired me to do better.

    And, the sun is shining. Woohoo. Walking the dog after breakfast.

  5. I’m happy. Everything is ready for my knee surgery tomorrow. Laundry is done. Housework is done. Marketing is done. Bills are paid. I’m off to my daughter’s house today and will stay with her for a while.

  6. I thought my computer was dead, but it turned out to be my power strip having a problem instead YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!! The sun is shining, and I am done with my diet. Life is GOOD!

  7. Last Sunday when 2/3rds of my grandchildren were here I started to show my 13 year old granddaughter how to play poker when her father, my son came in and took over. He brought in the family jar of pennies and the game went from 5 card stud to dealer’s choice. Jokers wild, red eights, whatever. Then he got his 17 year old daughter to remove the phone from her ear and she joined in. After a bit my husband came in from the kitchen where he was cooking dinner and he joined in. Dinner could wait. All in all it was a great day!

  8. Found out yesterday the lilacs are finally blooming at Descanso, and they’re my favorite flower for many reasons, so if I don’t see them today I’ll see them on Tuesday. Angus ran us both a merry chase (at old-doggo speed) around the house for a rowdy play session this morning before starting his pre-second breakfast snoozle, and while there are freshly scudding drifts of dog fur everywhere now, I have a new stick vacuum that doesn’t hurt my back to take care of them. We had lots of badly needed rain this week, which was wonderful, and now the sun is shining, which is also wonderful. All the usual stressors (money, pain, wordcount) continue, but optimism is more and more present for both of us every day.

  9. Happiness is having a friend visit tomorrow from the east coast. She’s only in town for half a day, but I’m excited. And today I have a good cup of coffee in a cafe with natural lighting

  10. The clocks went forward last night, and today was sunny to celebrate. I had a photography day at Lake Vyrnwy, and am downloading the results – but I’ve already spotted several I like. I managed not to fall into the swamp where the river feeds into the lake, and after lunch on the riverbank upstream, I enjoyed phtographing the bare trees and the stripey ripples in the water. I also managed to set up my new camera better, so it’s easier to control shutter speed and exposure. We’re bonding.

    And it’s still light at twenty past seven!

  11. I have been bugging a coffee shop owner for about two months now to give me a show in his restaurant. Finally, instead of filing for a restraining order because I was so annoying, he is giving me a show. I hang it tomorrow. As an added bonus, it is in the same small arts community that didn’t except my submission for a spring show. Now I will have work up there for a longer period of time, and much less personal expense. Plus revenge. I may be chuckling evilly. Nevertheless, I am excited.

    1. I wanted to click the heart twice for this — once for getting the show and once for the evil chuckling. Two separate happies!

      1. Thanks! I really appreciate the support. Also, I am still chuckling. I think my co-workers are starting to worry…

  12. Yesterday I went to a local March. 400 people turned out in my little town. That made me really happy.

    Today my witchy group had our belated spring equinox ritual (in which we melted small snowballs in our hands while envisioning our troubles dripping away and used the water to nourish seeds for the new season). The energy was lovely, a couple of friends came along to take part, and then we had our usual insanely good feast. With bacon in two dishes. Also, I was forced to clean my house, which is always good.

    And the sun is shining.

  13. I seem to have grim or at least weird happies these days. But this one had me laughing out loud — I was driving down a local street in what is now peak pothole season, so it’s like swiss cheese out there, except hard instead of forgiving like cheese, and I went over one crater that couldn’t be avoided and it suddenly dawned on me — it didn’t hurt!

    I’ve been on a new treatment in a clinical trial (hoping for FDA approval in three weeks!) for just short of two years now, which I hadn’t actually expected to help with my spinal issues, but it used to be that I had to be one of those crazy slalom-style drivers avoiding the potholes by swerving into oncoming traffic or into the ditch, because if I actually hit one, I’d get this brief but paralyzing, breath-robbing, stabbing pain in my spine.

    And guess what — I can hit the potholes with abandon now, because IT DOESN’T HURT! I literally laughed when I realized it, and then aimed straight for the next pothole and laughed some more.

    1. That’s brilliant, Gin – but I should still avoid them: I’ve had a puncture from driving over potholes, and I can’t have been doing much more than 20 mph. It’s made me very wary.

  14. Well, that report just reminded me to be generally happy for my good fortune. Hello Aotearoa New Zealand, No 8. Not bad. So I’m happy to live in a pretty decent country, where I’m safe, fed, and not buried in snow, where my kids go to school and not work, and (since I’ve been reading historicals this week – thanks for the Lisa Kleypas recommendation) I’m happy to live in a time and place where as a woman I can vote, own property, and do whatever the damn hell job I want.

    Also, I have a second harvest of raspberries from the garden and am about to make raspberry and white chocolate muffins. Hooray!

    1. Now I’ve got a snippet of a Split Enz song in my head, “Aotearoa, duh duh dummy duh duh” 6 Months in a Leaky Boat, maybe?

      1. Yes! Great song.

        Aotearoa, rugged individual
        Glisten like a pearl, at the bottom of the world

  15. I’ve been reading Finland’s national epic, the Kalevala. I was astonished to discover that it’s full of “no means no, really” and “no, being persistent will not win you the girl, just accept no.” I don’t know whether this has anything to do with the level of happiness of people in Finland today, but it seems perfectly plausible.

    I was in Helsinki last summer — the World Science Fiction Convention was there — and it was lovely, and also a little bit like visits to Utopia in slightly old fashioned books. Everyone spoke perfect idiomatic but accentless English, truly accentless so they didn’t sound like they came from the US or UK or anywhere in particular. There’s also the thing that Finland as a country was 100 years old last year, and most of Helsinki is younger than that, so it’s not like being in Europe, but it’s also very very different from being in North America. And when you asked people about things, they explained them to you in that exact slightly condescending way of “I expect you don’t have this at home” — why yes, we have these trams, and they are electric and they run all the time everywhere. Why yes, our education system is very good, let me explain, we do it by paying the teachers the highest salaries and only accepting the best students to train to become teachers. Why yes, our health system is excellent and inexpensive. It was beautiful and friendly and I absolutely see why it is the happiest country in the world.

    Not sure I’d want to be so far north in winter though.

  16. I’m getting ready to sell my house, I can’t keep it without better work. I have a place to go, and I’m mostly relieved to have made the decision, also, it has increased in value by 50% in six years, so I’ll have some cash, and not be incessantly worried.
    The happiness is having made the decision and having really great back up from friends and family.
    The simple eternal happiness is looking out the window and seeing a bluebird perching on the bird feeder.

  17. No joke, it’s been a tough weekend. My special needs kid is having an enormously difficult time right now, and I barely figure out how to connect with her, much less ease her distress.
    But yesterday was our local Girl Scout Thinking Day event, and I watched a bunch of girls do skits about different countries with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides, And felt proud that I am part of an organization that is training young girls to be leaders. Plus, my kid wore a shirt with “Istanbul” on one side and “Constantinople “ on the other and jumped around in a fez to They Might Be Giants.

    1. Excellent choice of song and headgear.
      I don’t know if you read Dogs and Goddesses, but the chant the Three used to take down the Bad Goddess can be sung to “Istanbul Not Constantinople.” I got stuck writing the chant, and I found a lot of old Erishkegal curses/poetry but was having a helluva time cobbling together something when I thought of that and presto, I had a chant that rocked.
      Love that song.

      1. Dogs. Goddesses. Cookies. Of course I read it, and now will bust it out again, just so I can chant away.

    2. Yesterday, out of the blue, my daughter asked for me to find and download that song for her Kindle. I did and we played it. Then I promptly made her listen to Taco’s song “Puttin on the Ritz” because parts of it are identical to “Istanbul not Constantinople” I got a “MOOOMMMMMM” out of it, which made me happy.

      1. I always thought it was a TMBG original, but no – the song is really old. Bing Crosby did a version.

        1. Irving Berlin wrote “Putting on the Ritz” in the late twenties but I don’t think it became a hit until the musical “Putting on the Ritz” (1930?) so it’s older than all of us and maybe older than our parents.

  18. Went to yoga with a cold and felt better. Coffee with a friend afterwards and then a coaching session with same friend – aiming to work with my strengths and be less anxious at work. DH and I booked an early may trip to the Dominican and my coffee/coaching friend said she’d stay with DH while we’re away. my cold has me stuck in bed today but it’s sunny out and snow is melting.

  19. It was kind of a good and bad week – the lady who owns the kennel we take our dogs to told us back in January that she was selling and she texted me this weekend to let us know that her place has sold. I’m happy for her, she has been looking to retire for a while and have more free time to spend with her family who live elsewhere, but I’m sad that her kennel is closing because our dogs love her. We say “Wanna go to Connie’s?” and they get all excited. She especially loves Jasmine because of how far she’s come out of her shell. The first time we left Jazz there on her own, Connie had a bunch of chores to do around the farm and she took Jazz with her (on leash of course) and spent the entire day making her feel relaxed and comfortable. We tried them at another kennel, but we’re not sure we or the dogs like it there.

  20. I don’t know about the other Northern countries, but Denmark (which has a reputation for topping happiness polls) is also one of the most highly medicated (anti-depressant) countries in the West. Strangely the two elements never seem to be connected by the media when talking about their happiness levels (I say this as part-Dane).

    Anyway, my happies this week included visiting a quilting open day at a quilt shop near Oswestry that I had not been to previously, the fact that the sun has made an appearance multiple times over the past few days, and that my baby son appears to have made the transition to ‘summer’ time with minimal drama (we have been *so* enjoying the fact that he has become very regular in his feed-times over the past week or so, and were rather forlorn at the thought of losing that due to the hour change this weekend – but so far so good!)

    Wishing multiple happies to all 🙂

      1. Hi! I’m in Chester. I’ve been reading Argh since the beginning but I’m trying to be better about posting rather than just reading…

          1. Ah the joys of not knowing what I’m doing! Forgot you can’t see the email addresses on here. I’ve emailed your website instead


  21. First, Mr. Fatso appeared this month for the fourth spring in a row. Five years ago he overwintered here in the DC area during a very snowy period, and we started to put out chopped dried cherries and almonds for him, along with warm water. Don’t know if he missed the migrate alarm, or got lost, or what, but he was a sad, puffed-up lost robin. Since then he shows up in March at some point and makes singing sounds just outside the back window, and we keep cherries for him just in case. Such a wonderful thing to see him again.

    Also, I am so happy about all the wonderful awareness and intensity in the DC March for our Lives. This millennial generation is just the best thing ever. It gives me hope and joy in this long winter of Trumpdom.

  22. Happiness today is sleeping in rather than getting up at 3:45am for the morning shift. I get a whole week of evenings, which is much easier for me.

  23. The weekend was great. I had 8 houseguests for the DC march and my son made the long (ie 20 minutes) trip home from college and we started the day with Pain Perdue and, in my case, crawfish omelet at our Louisiana restaurant and then were completely inspired and awed by the kids. Plus, as a dc policy wonk I knew they stuck 3 baby step gun policy provisions in the government funding bill which is more than they have done since 1994, and did not put in the NRA stuff. So while we have a long way to go,

    Unfortunately Monday I had four gas leaks and an emergency dental appointment and i won’t get heat or hot water or my stove back until Wednesday or later. That kind of took the glow. And the house behind me is scheduled to be torn down and for some unknown reason the builder has tagged my trees so they now all wear signs saying they belong to me, don’t cut them and please call me.

    Monday was rough.

    I am not anywhere near Finland but I could be persuaded to go.

  24. I am a professor of Healthcare Administration and I would like to point out that another thing all those happier countries have in common is decent healthcare for everyone.

  25. Ha! I recently read _The Art of Living Danishly_, which was pretty funny. The author is a journalist, so she made a point of researching things like how the divorce rate is high because with a social safety net, you don’t have to stay with someone if you don’t want to.

    I’m a cheery sort of person. Just got back from Toronto and starting a week as a hospitalist (I take care of all the admitted patients who don’t have family doctors with admitting privileges), so I’m tired but pleased to be home with my husband, two cuties, and Rottweiler, AND I look like a maniac because I lost my watch in Toronto, so my husband gave me his Fitbit ripoff, which makes me want to walk and swing my arms all the time. “I wondered what that noise was,” said my husband, when he found me brushing my teeth and stomping.

    Keep marching! You’re awesome!

  26. I love how this makes my brain work differently, focusing on what’s going well instead of otherwise.

    I spent some time last week with Seanan McGuire, driving around and attending events at the libraries. Lots of great stories, deceased cat commiserations, and she said my children were “delightful”! They’re teenagers, so that’s something.

    I’m trying to dig my way out of a hole I’ve written myself into with my WIP, and I’m churning up new and different things that I hadn’t considered. It feels like a good growth experience, for me and for my characters.

    Hoping for another good week, or maybe just the ability to focus on the good stuff!


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