Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to measure happiness

In college I had this somewhat insane boyfriend who charted how he felt about our relationship on a day-by-day basis. He was studying physics, so I guess he liked to take a quantitative approach to everything. Actually, it now seems very likely that he had (has, I guess--I'm not in touch with him) an autism spectrum disorder. Anyway, having reached a similar level of weirdness, I present the following chart. No, it's not my basal body temperature, or my progesterone level, and it's certainly not my hCG level. It's an estimate of happiness according to my cycle day.

For the unit of measurement on happiness I have decided to use fluffy kittens, as in I feel 4.5 fluffy kittens happy today. This is (obviously) abbreviated fkit, and I noticed after making my graph that this looks rather like an abbreviation for fuck it. I like that. Happiness could also be measured in fuck its, as in fuck it, I may as well have a drink. These numbers are totally made up--it's not like I've been doing this for months and have nice averages to present or anything. And since I'm still in the early stages of the fun IF boat ride, I've only got pre-intervention cycles and IUI cycles to work with. I imagine IVF cycles might look quite different. Probably the y axis would need to go down to negative 10. In any event, I was driven to produce this chart because, for the first time in a very long time, I'm on an enforced break. And I was feeling almost cheerful yesterday. I was thinking wow, those women who say that taking a break can be nice might actually be right! I'm the most impatient person in the world (I've got a trophy and everything) so I couldn't imagine that having nothing happening could ever be a positive thing. But maybe it is. Maybe I am experiencing the relief that comes with a lessening of the pressure to reproduce. But then I realized...maybe this is just my normal less miserable post-ovulatory self (I'm on day 17). That was kind of a bummer. I'd like to think I've got weeks of feeling less shitty ahead of me. Clearly, the only way to resolve this question is to obsessively chart my happiness level during this break and then compare to my estimated average...or I could try not worrying about it. Will I feel worse than I do today at some point? Absolutely. Will I feel better? Probably. Do I want to spend my time on this in lieu of being inseminated? Probably not. I don't want to end up like my insane ex. But I am curious if other people have the same predictable patterns in their mood, and what sorts of things can result in an unexpected peak or dip.


  1. Love the quant approach. Perhaps lowercase fkits could be fluffy kittens and uppercase Fkits could be fuckits? (And are these metric units -- micro or kilofuckits?) Taking a break is haaaaard for people like us (academic, for you, and reformed/recovering academic, for me). Being told you can't do something or else is like a double-dog dare and makes hulk want to smash. But it does relieve the pressure of trying to get knocked up against the odds. The desire to test and beat the odds only ramps up, though...

  2. I like this chart. I would probably be on the very bottom right now though in negative numbers. Your data is correct though with the ups and downs of where you are in the cycle.

  3. I really like the chart. I'm thinking I should start communicating in fkits. As in, "leave me alone, I'm only at 2 fkits today."

  4. Oh my God, I love this post. You are hilarious! I definitely have predictable ups and downs during my cycle - I am the happiest when I'm post-peak on progesterone, and am the least happy when I'm on my estrogen-high right before ovulation. Weird, huh?
    I guess it's nice that the bad mood phases are so predictable, but it sure doesn't make them any easier to handle.
    And measuring your happiness in "fkit" just made me laugh at loud!!!

  5. i am revealing the fact that i am reading a whole bunch of your old posts only because, on the off, off chance you haven't seen this, you need to: http://xkcd.com/523/

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