Wednesday, July 2, 2008

What would improve your quality of life?

While in Ukenzagapia I thought a lot about quality of life, and decided to start asking people what would improve their quality of life. It could be anything. I asked Ukenzapians and foreigners. I would now like to ask you, my blog readers, to answer that question. Please think about your answer and try to write it before reading what other people have said. It could be anything. What would make your life better?

I don't want to guide your answers, but I have one request: don't just say more money- that's a cop out answer. If more money would improve your quality of life please elaborate and explain how it would improve your life.

After 5 comments on this post, I'll post what other people I've asked have said, and after 10 comments I'll post my answer. Please comment!


Anonymous said...

Widespread acceptance of living simply. I'm tired of being in places where the focus is on acquiring more stuff and certain types of stuff indicate one's status.

DancingFish said...

First, better medical and dental care. My grad student insurance really stinks. No dental at all.

Second, stability. Jumping between positions and places every 2-5 years since I was 17 has worn me out. I hate not knowing what is next. It would be nice to be able to settle somewhere (and have a job I love, in the same place as my husband and pets...but now I'm just getting greedy for academia).

sarcozona said...

I think my quality of life would really be improved if I didn't have to worry so much about getting health insurance. It's a pain! I have to be affiliated with a university or have a job with benefits to get affordable insurance, which really limits me - what if I want to take a year off to travel or something?

EcoGeoFemme said...

I agree with the stability/health insurance sentiments. I hate knowing that I'll probably have to move for my job, probably at least twice more. Related to that, I think what would really improve the quality of my life would be living near family and close friends. Now I feel like I could try to make close friends, but then we'll just move away. I wish I could have a job doing my research that paid adequately and lasted more than two years and was near my family. And that EGM could painlessly get a green card and never want to move to Far Off Land.

That's a tall order.

JaneB said...

Local friends as well as long-distance ones. And by that I mean really GOOD friends - ones where I can be as brainiac as I like AND admit my fondness for the Greatest Hits of Queen and romcom without being looked at wierdly. How come I seem to have lost some of my ability to make friends with every move?

The other thing that would really help would be some leadership at work, some sense of a common vision beyond 'survive', 'compete' and 'bring in lots of money'! (or some really ace anti-depressants that provided the same optimism and energy that good leadership can!)

Angie said...

Better health insurance would definitely make a difference. Other factors that would improve my quality of life are:
1) A shorter work week to allow more time for family, friends, and hobbies.
2) More local opportunities for drama, music, and art activities, either as a participant or viewer.

Silver Fox said...

While I have often wanted different this or that (things, improvements, people, changes) through my life at different times (and even on different days!), I really think that for the most part, the things that have improved my life the most have been internal, and usually involve my own attitude. And I feel that way partly because you can get what you want, and then find out it hasn't changed how you feel. You can get what you don't want and find joy and life in the midst of it. You can have the best conditions and opportunities in the world and be happy or unhappy; you can live in a small hut in an impoverished area and be satisfied at least as often as many of us are.

Karina said...

Thanks for the comments! Thanks especially to the new readers who have never commented before (and to ecogeofemme for directing them here).

First I asked this question to John, an American grad student in Ukenzagapia. I told him it could be anything. After careful thought, he said having three extra weeks per year that no one else had would make his life a lot better.

Then I asked my first Ukenzagapian guide. He said "better care of the environment," specifically citing deforestation and erosion. There was a bit of a language barrier, so I wasn't able to understand his answer as deeply as I would have liked.

My second Ukenzagapian guide said access to higher education would improve his quality of life by expanding his knowledge and allowing him to be the chief organizer of the local guides. When I asked what the barriers were, he said money and the time to do the coursework.

I later asked him what one thing he thought would improve the quality of life for the people of Nyota as a whole- better roads. If the road to Nyota were sealed, they would have access to more markets for selling their produce, it would be easier to get to the hospital for medical care, and it would take less time for them to go to the big market along the main highway.

I asked my best friend here in Big City and she said less traffic and better driving would improve her quality of life.

Jon said that his life is great and he couldn't think of anything that would significantly improve his quality of life. I kept prodding him, and finally he said it would be better if his best friend (aka his boyfriend, heterolifepartner) lived closer.

I'm really interested in people's answers to this question. Keep commenting!

Candid Engineer said...

Without a doubt, my quality of life would improve with less worry and anxiety in my life. This is not something that I can buy or something that can be given to me. My tendency to worry might be part hereditary, part learned, part cultivated by myself... but the only thing I can do is try to work on in and keep it in check. If I could avoid flare-ups or make it disappear entirely, my life would be so much better.

TransientTilia said...

Hmmm, two wishes I guess (is that being greedy?)

1) Knowing with certainty that the work that I do is meaningful/valuable, and somehow making the world a better place. Sometimes it feels stuck so deep in a niche that it's hard to have enough vision to see if it has any wider applicability or value.

2) A home.

El said...

My boyfriend says that 20/20 vision would improve his quality of life. I think he feels somehow less fit, natural selection-wise, because his survival is tied to his glasses.

Me? My quality of life would probably triple or quadruple if I could just get rid of my phobia. That would be enough. Barring that, universal health care is probably number two.

ScienceMama said...

Having family nearby. Having little control over where I will be living at any stage of my career is a bummer, and having to live so far from my family sucks. Especially now that I'm a mom.

Karina said...

This is a record number of comments for my blog so far :-) Thanks everyone (and don't stop!)

First I have to say that my quality of life is admittedly great. I enjoy my work, I like where I live, I'm not too far from friends or family, and I have great health insurance provided I go only to the university clinics (see previous post about appendicitis).

For the present time, my quality of life would be improved by more trees and green space in my neighborhood. I really miss trees and natural areas. They give places character and a sense of place.

More broadly (in space and time), I think better infrastructure and urban planning throughout the U.S. would improve my quality of life. Most of the places where I lived before here weren't pedestrian or public transit friendly. I am so happy now to be able to walk and bike in Big City, but things could certainly be improved here as well. Better urban planning would mean less air pollution. The more I think about it, the more important I think urban planning is. Design is everything.

Paulina said...

I would like to be closer or within better traveling distance from my family and friends. It is such a rare if not impossible occurrence that I get to see the people I care about. Having friends and family to talk with and confide in would improve my quality of life, I believe.

Beany said...

For me its definetly money, but more specifically the way I get my means to live. In short, the job. I have some general ideas on the idea job the sorts of people I'd like to work for and with and the type of environment I want this to be in. That's about it. Overall, I am pretty satisfied with my life now because I made some (drastic) changes several years ago.

janeb: I am no brainiac, but I certainly am a Queen fan.