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A question from my sister
Old 08-23-2011, 11:59 AM   #1
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A question from my sister

My sister was married to a control-freak and managed to divorce him without too much pain and suffering. At about the time of the separation, she met and subsequently married a terrific guy. He ER'd at age 50. He's 60 now and was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer. To show you how great his attitude is, they just went out and bought a 36-foot RV because he wants to travel until he can't anymore.

She has never lived on her own and is soon facing widowhood at age 47. I, on the other hand, have been stubbornly single my entire life and wouldn't have it any other way.

So, she asked me - on a scale of 1 to 10 - if I was happy.

My answer was 9: I live life on my terms, I don't owe anyone, I love my job, I enjoy my hobbies, and I'm close to my family. The only blip is that I could stand to lose weight - which is, of course, entirely under my control.

It was a question that made me think for awhile though.

So what would your answer be?

Nui
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:33 PM   #2
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I loved your post although I am so sorry to hear about your sister's husband.

You sound like a very happy person (and your sister sounds like she was able to make a happy life for herself as well after her first marriage). I would probably answer a 9 as well.

Of course no one can control what life throws at them, but I think some people have happiness genes and some are natural-born Debbie Downers.

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Old 08-23-2011, 02:07 PM   #3
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I don't think that it is always the path that one takes that make them happy...

I was single for 50 years and was happy... did things that I wanted to do when I wanted.....

Got married with two kids... and can not do some of the things I used to do, but am doing different things that make me happy... (but I do wish the wife would stop spending so much money on vacations and such that prevent me from some vacations I would like to do)....

I think you are either a happy kind of person or you are not... and whatever path you go down you will be one or the other....
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Old 08-23-2011, 02:40 PM   #4
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So sorry to hear about your sister's husband's cancer. She must be devastated.

I was married for 23 years, and I am glad that I was married. To me, marriage was something I always wanted, and without which my life would never have seemed complete. I dearly love our child, who is now a grown woman and married herself.

However, for a number of reasons we ended up in divorce, and so I have been without a husband for almost 14 years by now. I have to say that I am a lot happier now than I was while married. Been There, Done That, and I'm glad I did, wouldn't have it any other way, but I wouldn't want to go back to being married for all the tea in China.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give life a 9.8 or so, I suppose. There's always a little room for improvement.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuiloa View Post
My sister was married to a control-freak and managed to divorce him without too much pain and suffering. At about the time of the separation, she met and subsequently married a terrific guy. He ER'd at age 50. He's 60 now and was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer. To show you how great his attitude is, they just went out and bought a 36-foot RV because he wants to travel until he can't anymore.

She has never lived on her own and is soon facing widowhood at age 47. I, on the other hand, have been stubbornly single my entire life and wouldn't have it any other way.

So, she asked me - on a scale of 1 to 10 - if I was happy.

My answer was 9: I live life on my terms, I don't owe anyone, I love my job, I enjoy my hobbies, and I'm close to my family. The only blip is that I could stand to lose weight - which is, of course, entirely under my control.

It was a question that made me think for awhile though.

So what would your answer be?

Nui
Such a shame about your sister and her husband.

My sister had a similar situation. She was widowed (colon and liver cancer) when she was younger than that, and with 2 adolescents kids. I spent a lot of time with her (week at a time) in the months afterwards and we used to just sit and talk (after the kids were in bed). What they could have done differently and what her future would be like was foremost on her mind. There is no answer to either. I just reinforced that they had done nothing wrong, and that when she was by herself she was not alone.

She cared deeply for her husband and the adjustment was difficult. She had a strong support group from her church, and it still took 2 or 3 years for her start feeling good again, about herself and life.

Grief counseling can be very helpful, especially if depression sets in.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:24 PM   #6
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Married at age 25, and lived a wonderful life for 25 years.
Widowed at age 46. It is now almost 7 years since he passed suddenly, and it gets less painful but never easier.
Then I was in a relationship for 4.5 years which did not work out at all. It was my gain when it ended. Good lessons learned about "rebound".
I was single for about 6 months, and now in a very happy relationship with Mr B, whom I have known very well for almost 2 years.

I am very independent, have my own financial resources and home, but do not like to be single. I am the type of person who wants to share my life, not go it alone.

I am very sorry to hear about your sister's situation. Please be there for her.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:27 PM   #7
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I'm really sorry to hear about your sisters husband, I hope he can spend what ever time he can finding what ever happiness he so chooses.


As for me, I was happy when I was single and ultimately found a best friend that I've been with for 30 years. I couldn't imagine my life without her and we have 2 kids that have given us more happiness than sadness. I was lucky enough to marry my best friend 26 years ago, but I find that happiness comes from within. Sure my wife and kids effect my happiness sometimes but it's really up to me to make myself happy.

To each there own, for me...spending it will a best friend is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
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Old 08-23-2011, 03:31 PM   #8
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Thanks all, for your kind words.

Although we live 2000 miles apart, I will give my sister as much support as I can. It's also one of the reasons I moved up my retirement date to next April.

To compound things, our brother is seeing specialists this week to be assessed for a double lung transplant. He's been given less than a year to live as well.

And our mom just died in February. My sister was very close to her - they lived next door to each other for 7 years.

2011 has been a pretty rough year so far and it looks to be a lot rougher. Ah well..... everyone has problems, right?

Nui
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:27 PM   #9
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Thanks all, for your kind words.

Although we live 2000 miles apart, I will give my sister as much support as I can. It's also one of the reasons I moved up my retirement date to next April.

To compound things, our brother is seeing specialists this week to be assessed for a double lung transplant. He's been given less than a year to live as well.

And our mom just died in February. My sister was very close to her - they lived next door to each other for 7 years.

2011 has been a pretty rough year so far and it looks to be a lot rougher. Ah well..... everyone has problems, right?

Nui
Hopefully your retirement will be no less secure financially because you're starting sooner. Having the time made all the difference in my case, more than once. Your sister may recognize this nor not but you will always know.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:04 PM   #10
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On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give life a 9.8 or so, I suppose. There's always a little room for improvement.
I actually had to answer this question for the Gallup poll several weeks ago. I said 9, because there's always room for improvement, but said that I thought in 5 years, when I retire, it will be 10. (I was thinking only in whole numbers)
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:13 PM   #11
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I actually had to answer this question for the Gallup poll several weeks ago. I said 9, because there's always room for improvement, but said that I thought in 5 years, when I retire, it will be 10. (I was thinking only in whole numbers)
If we are thinking of whole numbers, it has been a resounding "10". For me, retirement has been much, much better than I had thought possible.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:04 AM   #12
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This year has sucked for me and our family in a whole bunch of different ways, but I'd still give it a 10.

The epiphany of "Hey, we might get killed here" kinda tends to put the remaining years of your life in perspective.
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Old 08-24-2011, 03:50 AM   #13
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This year has sucked for me also. A recent break-up (which I shared on this board) has not made things easier. However, to answer the OP's question, I would still rate my level of happiness as 9 overall.

Very sorry to read about the OP's brother-in-law's condition.

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This year has sucked for me and our family in a whole bunch of different ways, but I'd still give it a 10.
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Old 08-24-2011, 06:04 AM   #14
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Sorry for your BIL, Nui. Good that he bought an RV. It shows a good attitude that he wants to travel until he can't anymore.

This year has been great for me so far. All family is well. No emergency hospital trips or accidents. Hobbies and travel are going well. Work (for me) is winding down and DW got a promotion. I'm keeping up with yard work. And now I'm dog-sitting. I'd have to give it a 9.
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:42 AM   #15
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As some others have said, I think happiness is quite a bit inherent in our nature. I rarely consider myself unhappy - maybe for a time around my divorce (although it was the best decision for me, and I don't regret it), or after a few of my other break-ups.

I am generally an optimistic, happy person. So I'd give myself a 9.5 (as others have indicated, there is always room for improvement...)
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:54 AM   #16
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You can use real science to measure your happiness here.
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Old 08-24-2011, 12:10 PM   #17
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Regardless of age, it has to be very tough to lose a spouse, so I wish your sister the best in dealing with her potential loss. As to your question, I suppose I would answer it pretty much as you did with a few tweaks:

"I live life on my terms, I don't owe anyone, I used to love my job, I enjoy my hobbies, and I'm close to and love my family more than anything. The only blip is that I could stand to lose weight - which is, of course, entirely under my control."

That said, I have often wondered what life would hand me if I had done things differently when I was younger. No regrets, but just curious how things might have turned out.
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