Not much happiness in Tennessee right now | Opinion


Carrying out a survey of our level of happiness right now may seem like a pointless undertaking.

We’re stuck in a pandemic and no one seems to be feeling so well.

But the good folks at WalletHub are worried about us, or were last September (I’m still a few months behind), and they’ve taken a closer look at how we’re doing.

For us Tennessians, that’s good or bad news. Usually we’re right in the middle, usually around 25th place in these things. Not this time. We’re firmly in 44th place when it comes to happiness.

They measured happiness in three domains. Emotional and physical well-being, work environment and community and environment. You’ll be happy to know that Tennessee didn’t come close to the top in any of those categories.

We were respectively 43, 25 and 44 years old. Emotional and physical well-being speaks for itself. None of us can claim victory in either one, but we managed to beat seven other states. Yes, Tennessee.

The work environment is a whole different animal. No one is ever happy in their job. Stop denying it. You either have to get up too early, work too late, work too long, not earn enough, have rancid co-workers and an even worse boss.

Your life becomes a drudgery of fighting for five days to get two days off that pass in the blink of an eye.

When it comes to community and the environment, there are those who would say we don’t really have a community anymore. We’re all laser-locked to our phones with our “friends” that we never see or really know.

People brag about having 5,000 Facebook friends, but can’t think of a single person to call when the world starts slipping away from them.

Anyway, the happiest state was Utah. I know what you’re thinking. Is Utah still a state? Believe it or not, they are and they’re just thrilled with their mountains and, uh, deserts and…great religious places.

Number 2 is Minnesota! Again, I know. Didn’t the entire state have a high of two degrees the other day? And how could happiness be contained in a state that is home to the Vikings?

Numbers 3 and 4 make a little more sense. Hawaii and California which, if nothing else, have the kind of weather that makes you kinda happy without much incentive. And Hawaii is there on its own, without disturbing anyone, just a drive away with its 85 degrees and its pristine beaches.

Numbers 5 and 6 are North and South Dakota and… I don’t know. What could there be in either of these states to be happy about? Can you think of anything? I’ll wait while you search your brain.

When you go to the other end of the scale, you find West Virginia in 50th place. West Virginia has been in the news lately for being the home of Joe Manchin, the senator who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of teamwork in the modern political world.

Some say he could solve all our problems while others say he would create a whole host of new ones if he gave in. Either way, his condition is just plain miserable after that.

The south as a whole just looks miserable. Between Tennessee and West Virginia you have Kentucky, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. You can debate whether Oklahoma is a southern state, but for that we’ll say they are.

Why is the south so miserable? It is the eternal mystery. You’d think we’d have a better attitude.

Our time, for the most part, is OK. Most of us are pretty nice people. We help each other, we open doors, etc. But we are miserable and generally act within the safety of our own cars. But that’s a topic for another day.


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