The other day I let myself lament the state of every damn thing. Turning 33 in couple of weeks, I don’t have a full-time job and I live at my mother’s. I waited literally my entire life for a decent new Star Wars movie only to have some asshole spoil The Force Awakens for me an hour before I saw it. Throw in some family strife and it was a recipe for the ol’: “What the hell am I doing with my life?” Times like these, I tell myself to try to get a little perspective on the matter. I was born, in the United States, into an upper middle class, white family. How bad could things really be? Usually, at that point, I argue myself off the ledge by imagining emaciated children in Africa too weak to fend off flies, guessing at the smell of Calcutta slums — giving myself a mental slap. But, now, with If It Were My Home I can curb my existential First World Problems guilt with hard data on what a lucky so-and-so I am.
Here’s how the site explains its core mission:
“The lottery of birth is responsible for much of who we are. If you were not born in the country you were, what would your life be like? Would you be the same person?
IfItWereMyHome.com is your gateway to understanding life outside your home. Use our country comparison tool to compare living conditions in your own country to those of another.”
I took If It Were My Home’s advice and jumped right in on its “Country of the Week”: Ecuador. Comparing the U.S. to Ecuador yielded some intriguing results. If I lived in Ecuador, I would spend 95.94 percent less money on health care (score), but be 3.3 times more likely to be murdered (buzzkill). One of the best features about the site is that it backs up these stats with a dropdown that provides a source.
I decided to test a fancypants nation and see what kind of lifestyle I could expect there. As I suspected, Switzerland licked the U.S. in nearly every category. I’d be 56.16 percent less likely to be unemployed, I’d have 12.88 percent more free time, and would be be 87.97 percent less likely to be in prison. Nooice. I’m also guessing I’d be about 67.88 percent more likely to marry a bilingual ski bunny, but — since I live in Colorado — maybe that’d be more like 43.12 percent.
Swinging the pendulum, I checked in on Burundi. I would be 2.2 times more likely to have AIDS and expected to die 20.01 years sooner. Ouch. Still, Burundi has its own merits, experiencing 5.78 percent less of a class divide and spending 99.78 percent less money on health care. Damn, health care in the U.S. is a racket. Stealth goal for the 34th birthday: Lockdown that Swiss passport.