Monday, May 21, 2007

Not Explicitly About Food, But...

I want to write about it anyway. So I'll make it about food.

I find happiness research extremely interesting, mostly because if there's any way to make myself happier, I want to know about it. A recent study by a Carnegie Mellon professor and a RAND Corp. behavioral scientist suggests that happiness may be linked to decision making ability: people who are able to easily make decisions in their best self-interest are likely to be happier than people who are unable to make the same decisions (either unable to make them easily, or unable to make good decisions at all).

While this research is not completely validated - not to get too researchy, but both decision making and happiness involve so many variables that could potentially impact the other that the research is more speculative than anything else. But so interesting, nonetheless, and to me it seems logical at it's core.

The linked article includes a link to an abbreviated online version of the survey itself. It takes about 10 minutes to complete and a few weeks after completion, you'll receive results showing how you compare to the rest of the sample (of course, opening this up online taints the sample, I'm sure - the people who might read about a survey like this and actually take it are invested in learning about their happiness and decision making skills. I'd guess that they tend to be better decision makers as a group.)

And here's how I'm going to make it about food: food decisions, in my life at least, have provided a good barometer for my overall happiness. When I first learned how to cook, I was at a point of a lot of uncertainty in my life: I had just started working at my old job and I wasn't really sure what I was doing. I had also just started dating Cooper and while we obviously had a good relationship, I'm a lot more secure in my marriage today than in our dating when we were 26. Overall, I was a little all over the place - still feeling very young and figuring out what I was doing.

And I could not, for the life of me, figure out what to make for dinner on any given night. Every trip to the grocery store involved a mini-exististential crisis. Cooper would say, "you decide" and I'd panic. Literally, my heart rate would increase. About dinner.

But as I learned to cook, and my confidence in the kitchen increased, my ability to make decisions at the grocery store did, too. Even though it might seem like a minor thing, establishing control and the ability to make decisions in that one area of my life trickled over into other parts of my life until one day, all of a sudden, I was kind of a grown-up.

And now here I am - not just cooking, but food blogging. Without freaking out.

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