Happiness, and not so happiness

Eric Barker’s blog “Barking up the wrong tree” is really terrific. Each week he chooses a topic and interviews experts in fields related to happiness, wellness, productivity, etc, then skillfully summarizes the information. This week’s was The Lazy Way To An Awesome Life: 3 Secrets Backed By Research. I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here’s the summary:

  1. Hang out with the people you want to be – basically traits/behaviors are infectious, choose to be infected by happy, productive people, who share your values.
  2. Make more friends – friendships increase happiness much more than does money – though probably rich friends aren’t a bad thing.
  3. Introduce friends to friends – there is a whole network of effect from friendships. If the friend of a friend becomes happier, it translates to you, even if you don’t know that person. Sounds a little fishy to me, but he cites studies. The whole quantification of happiness is another question of course.

The last thing he says, then, is that any positive change you make in your own life has a ripple effect on all your friends, and their friends… so…get out there and be happy! If not for yourself, do it for me 🙂

I did my part this weekend: a reunion at the lake with friends from college and their Little Mulletskids. Lots of water sports, too much food, and of course, some cards. The kids taught us a new game called Spike Ball. Sort of volleyball in the horizontal plane. That’s not a great description, you might want to look it up.

Regarding writing, I already heard back from two of the agents who asked for partials of my novel. One wasn’t interested, the other said it was not quite ready. Interesting the emotional swings of this business already. Writing is thrilling when the words flow and the characters seem to write themselves, disappointing when you read it back and realize it’s not as it seemed in your head, thrilling when you read it back and it is, inspiring when beta readers (aka friends and family) love it, exhilarating when an agent seeks you out to ask for the manuscript, and utterly depressing when its rejected. As I’ve approached middle age (asymptotically of course), and work is work, and kids are mostly grown, and marriage is comfortable, and family is healthy and happy, my emotional range has become stilted. These excursions to new boundaries are unsettling, but invigorating. Stick with the comfortable status quo? or venture into uncharted territory with possible great peaks, but likely significant troughs…is this the genesis of a midlife crisis? Or it might be in someone middle aged, which I’m not, since I’ve not had a birthday in 20 years – instead celebrating only anniversaries of my 29th birthday. Whew – dodged a bullet there.


3 thoughts on “Happiness, and not so happiness

  1. Amber

    Thank you for this! I like the idea of celebrating the anniversary of the 29th birthday. I’ll be doing that from now on!


  2. lorraine

    Would you believe I am STILL learning how to filter out the bad influences in my life…….I recently made a pact with myself to NEVER travel again with a particular friend who’s face was dragging along the cobblestones in Prague. I loved Prague and interacted with a guided haunted tour of an old village. Was made to wield an executioners axe all through the back streets! I even sang along with Mick Jagger and Micheal Jackson in the Wax Museum. Packed a lot in for the 3 days we were there. However, Ms Grizzly managed to ruin almost everything we did. Never too old to learn (so they say) …..sincerely hope that’s right considering I am in my twilight years! ….How I ever got THIS far…….,!



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