The first two weeks in April, I hung out in Manhattan cat-sitting for several friends. Astute readers know that I’m a big fan of random projects, so I’m pretty thrilled to announce that I absolutely SLAYED the one I undertook during that period. I called it “Operation Enjoy N-Y-C. Yeah, You Know Me.” It involved me going out in New York and doing stuff. The bad news is that while I was kicking so much ass in Operation NYC, my “Be a writer” resolution lay neglected in my brain only popping up guiltily on the subway.
All of this is to say that I don’t have a long post for you today, but here’s a happiness-related insight that I keep learning and that you probably already know because you’re better at life than I am and because I’ve written about it before.
Good Relationships are a Key Aspect of Happiness
According to my journal, today is the anniversary of the day last year when I started “Operation Enjoy the Crap Out of Sydney While I Still Can.” I am SO MUCH HAPPIER with my life now that I understand this skill. Ask people to do things with you. Go do things with people. Have close friendships. Look forward and enjoy the days. Be happy. Like your life.
I love New York. It’s not about the food or the public transportation or the walkability or the sheer amount of options for entertainment. I love New York because I know a lot of people there that 1) like to hang out and 2) are keen to hang out repeatedly with hastily-planned interactions.
If you’ll recall, the research shows that close friendships exist when you have:
- Repeated, unplanned interactions
- A setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other
- Close Proximity
Law school friends, work friends, college friends, trip friends, family, family friends, friends of friends all reside in close proximity to me when I’m in NY. I asked them to do things with me. They asked me to do things with them. We did them. We became closer. This is how life works. I know this is a single data point and I’m just one voice in the void shouting at you (SORRY ABOUT THAT), but I’m fairly confident that asking people to do things with you is the new Prozac.
Now I just need to figure out how to weigh the “close proximity” thing against my deep-seated and almost pathological wanderlust.
Here are some pictures to pad out this article a bit more and because I’ve been told repeatedly that real pictures are better than my treasured clipart.