Class! Class!! Settle down now. And Megan
, get back in your seat.
I'm going to let you in on a secret. A secret to happiness in life.
I'm older than you. In the five decades I've been around, I've picked up some wisdom. When I apply that wisdom to my current life, I find it works. Let me share a nugget with you.
We hold the keys to our happiness. We make multiple choices, many of which directly affect the amount of joy in our existence. Often we make bad choices, with unfortunate consequences, because we mis-prioritize things. For example, sometimes we foolishly value convenience over experience, money over friendship.
I've learned -- and scientific research backs this up -- that having friends is critical to happiness. Friends supply us with emotional support and a sense of belonging. When we're young, we have ready friends because school puts us in close proximity to others. But after we leave school, that proximity disappears and it's easy, in fact it's normal, to lose our friends. We go to work, go home, go to work, go home -- a recipe for isolation and loneliness. Sure we may have a partner but one person cannot meet all our needs. Especially our same-sex needs, like the ability and willingness to chat about clothes, makeup and gossip.
Recognizing this, I made a deliberate effort to add more friends to my life. And it's worked. The effort began with my search for online ways to connect to promising people. I found blogging. Before 2010, I didn't even know what blogs were. Now they're an integral part of my life. Through blogging, I've met dozens of lovely people, some of whom have become close friends.
One of these friends is Ashley
. Ashley had a blog
and we chatted regularly for several years. She retired her blog but we keep in touch. She's available through Twitter
and Facebook -- and the occasional handmade card in the mail. I cherish those.
I've raved about Ashley several times here, including recently when I praised her funny story about shopping for Missoni clothes
Some people are unwilling to travel to meet others. I don't understand that. If someone is important to you, don't you want to deepen your friendship? Meeting someone in person is A BIG DEAL because it tells you stuff you'll never get through online communication. Like how tall they are (Gracey
), what their accent sounds like (Lynne
), how nice they are (Lorena
), the depth of their intelligence (Michi
), how stylishly they dress (Megan
) and their sense of humor (Meghan
I live in New York but am willing to travel to see friends. It's a question of priorities. Sure, it's difficult to find spare time (I'll bet my work-calendar is more crowded than yours) and, like everyone else, I need to watch my spending. But I accord this a HIGH priority. Which, to me, is not only rational, it's smart.
This Summer, I rode my motorcycle five hours upstate to meet Aimee
and it was delightful. We shared fun experiences. I'll remember that weekend forever.
So when Ashley tweeted that she's having a Halloween party, I considered going out to meet her. Which is a fairly big deal because Ashley lives in Minnesota. I don't even know where that is! But I know they have these big metal tubes that fly through the sky and can carry you anywhere.
Going to a Halloween party at Ashley's is guaranteed fun. Halloween! Costumes, games, excitement! I'm actually trembling with eager anticipation.
After finagling an invitation to the party, I committed to going. Next month, I'm jumping on a jet-plane and flying to a new place to meet a new friend whom I've never seen before.
That's our lesson for today. Savor friends. Order your priorities to make time for them. Class dismissed.
Have you ever travelled far to meet a friend?