What Happy People Do

>> Wednesday, November 26, 2008

According to a recent study covered by the New York Times, "Happy people spend a lot of time socializing, going to church and reading newspapers — but they don’t spend a lot of time watching television." I certainly have two out of three down well and, if "going to church" equals "enjoying shabbat dinner," than I might be able to claim three for three on the happy people chart. As for the TV part, well, this gives me a new answer in my arsenal of responses to questions about why I don't have a TV. It's a sign of happiness! (Or maybe it just forces socialization since I have to go elsewhere to watch TV (see: olympics, presidential debates, and law & order, and thank jim, david, and my parents respectively.))

But I want to pause on the socializing piece, and take a moment to highlight my amazing friends. I know that I wouldn't be where I am today without the incredible support of friends (don't worry, family, you're coming tomorrow). So many people have enriched my life over the past year, and I want to thank you even if I can't mention everyone by name.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'd like to start a tradition of publicly thanking and describing some of the people who, for me, define friendship.

There are 5 people who comprised the rocks in my life over the past year. Five friends who regularly push me to be my best self, who intuitively know the difference between what I want to hear and what I need to hear, and who graciously make time to talk, visit, and stay close regardless of time-zone and life-cycle differences. Thank you being such an important and wonderful part of my life.

A master of the smart and silly combination, Torie has a song for every occasion. She tries to make sure I'm fashionably appropriate at affairs that require more than corduroy, and she knows enough about kosher wine laws to toy with them. She is insatiably curious, and I can't wait for her to visit at the end of December.

Claire is an incredible chef who offers wise counsel on matters small and large, food-related and otherwise. A wonderful listener, she's shepherded more than one friend through the ups and downs of graduate school. She's quietly independent thinker, and I'm looking forward to a few days together in December.

Exuberance is the first word that comes to mind when I think of Jenny. She's engaging, open, and direct; she will try anything and talk to anyone. A vegetarian succotash dinner made us fast friends and conversation over meals continues to bind us together. More than anyone else, she challenges and encourages me to move outside my comfort zone(s).

From the moment Joel offered me a popsicle and cooked me dinner when I showed up on the doorstep ready to move in, he's served as a confidant, advisor, and cheerleader. He sets hard goals for himself and meets them -- sometimes by sheer force of will and belief that nothing is impossible. And I can't wait for him to show up on my current doorstep in a couple weeks with that black 75 pound ball of fur also in the picture above.

Max does deserve special mention here: his tail-thwacking, galloping, and slobbering expressed joy at my arrival home on a daily basis last year, and that's not something to take for granted.

About a year after we first met, Sivan issued me a standing invitation for dinner, and over the next two years I probably ate at her house as often as I did at my own. She's sharp, disciplined, and focused but always makes time and creates space for people in her life. No matter how busy she is, I can count on her to be there for me. We are both so similar and so different from one another, a potent combination for lasting friendship.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Anonymous November 27, 2008 at 4:02 PM  

That's so sweet of you to honor your friends like this. It's a great tradition and I hope you continue to do it.

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