I have been watching Hobotraveler on you tube. He has been traveling all over the world for over sixteen years. He has some good insights into this question. He says that you shouldn't judge an entire country. Instead, you should judge the quality of life in a CITY. Because cities inside of countries are different from each other. Just think about it. New York City is far different from Santa Cruz, Calif. So you can't judge a good place to live just by the country.
Of course living in a war zone is going to be poorer quality of life than living in a place that is not at war. Living in warm weather is more comfortable than living in a snowed in place, at least for most people. There are a lot of objective things that these surveys measure; the quality of health care and how affordable it is for people, the weather, the political situation, the cost of living, crime, and many other things. But these are all external. How about the quality of life from an internal point of view? One thing that often takes expats, especially the women, back to their own countries is the fact that they miss their grandchildren. That is a big quality of life value that can't be measured and is never considered in these surveys. Maybe they will consider how difficult it is to get to an international airport. But they cannot measure the heart and it's longings. For that, the number one country with the best quality of life for many people is where the family lives..... So far, we have no way to measure love.
This morning I had a dream about my parents. As usual in my dreams these days I was a different age than I am now. I am never old in my dreams. In this one I was a teenager. I had come home for lunch. My mother made me a delicious sandwich. I was appreciating how nice it was to be taken care of and to be loved by my parents. I looked out the window and my mom and dad were in the car, backing out of the driveway. It was raining hard and I wanted a ride back to school. I was motioning to them to stop but they just thought I was waving and they waved back and left. I stood there alone and felt so sad. Then I woke up. Alone, sad and a bit disoriented like in the dream.
Then my current reality came back to me. My parents are dead. My son and daughter-in-law live a long ways from me. I will never in my life have the kind of love and caring that my parents gave to me. And I thought about my resentments from traumatic things that happened as I was growing up. They were few compared to the day to day care that my parents did for me. And the love that I always knew was there for me. (Maybe this is the only thing most parents wish from their grown children. An appreciation of all their efforts and the day to day loving and caring they did for them and forgiveness for their mistakes.)
I am writing about this dream because I have been thinking all morning about the Quality of Life surveys...... What is my quality of life? What is yours?
Mostly when we talk to people about our lives we don't talk about the external things. We don't dream about what country we live in or what city we live in. We talk and dream about where we live in our hearts, about our loved ones. About how much they mean to us. About how much we miss people who have died. That is the real quality of life measurement. Not the measurement of a country or of a city but of what is in our hearts.
Maybe the only criteria for having the best quality of life is to FOLLOW OUR HEARTS......