Thursday, October 16, 2008

Feeling Good

Ups and downs are a normal part of life. In my day job, I'm a scientist/lab tech, and I'd recently mastered the art of a cAMP assay. This is a long, complicated assay involving live cells, lots of clear liquids in lots of clear plates, and calculations and back-calculations. It is, in many ways, the worst kind of assay one can run: expensive, easy to screw up, and completely dependent on how you grow your cells.

Recently my cells have been giving me a lot of flak, and after two weeks of piddling about and hoping that they'd come around, we've finally decided to just use new cells. What a bummer--I've lost two weeks' worth of work.

But oddly, despite the troubles these past two weeks, and the shortening days (anybody who says seasonal depression isn't real has never met me), I'm actually feeling quite good. Probably from a combination of chocolate, love, biking to and from the train stations, and the giddiness from not having eaten enough all week.

Feeling good, according to neuroscientists, is about brain biochemistry: having the right amounts of all the neurotransmitters in all their correct balances. Some people have a harder time of attaining this balance, others are magically "normal".

How do we go about assigning hedonistic values to the aspects of our lives that warrant it?

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