Happier Hearts: Some Bling For BFFs

I may be a grown woman now—no longer desperate to claim a single pal as my very best friend forever—but those interlocking broken-heart-pendant necklaces declaring bestie-status to the world were something I coveted as a tween and teen. Was it the jewelry itself? Probably not; they all looked the same, anyway, and even looked kind of dumb on their own. But I wanted a bestie, and a token to match.

So these aren’t necessarily for me, but I do love the plethora of BFF jewelry available, now, and the fact that you needn’t wear the same half-a-heart everyone else has if you and your best bud want matching bling.

Perfect For The Whole Gang
Not expensive, not even a little sappy, and perfect for up to six kids (hey, adults too, if that’s how you roll) to wear together: the pizza slice friendship necklace! Totally adorable, and who doesn’t love eating pizza with their besties??
pizzaslices-BFFs

Nerdtastic
Did you and your bestie meet at a science fair? Do you enjoy diagramming molecules together? Are you just delightfully nerdy? Then perhaps these DNA base pair necklaces will tickle both your scientific and best-friend fancy.
biolojewelry-BFFs

Elegant Enough For Grown-Ups
If music is your unifying, I love the idea of music note pendant necklaces, because while they still interlock, they’re interesting (and, some might argue, whole) on their own, too.
musicnote-BFFs

(Whether you wear your gratitude to your friends or not, those awesome folks in our lives who make us smile are invaluable and worth celebrating.)

Awesome Humans: Doris Redding And Charlotte Crane, 90-Year BFFs

awesome-humans-102914I’m not going to lie; this story both inspired me and made me a little bit jealous. I can’t even think of anyone I’ve been friends with since preschool, and the friends I see on any sort of regular basis nowadays are exclusively folks I’m met in adulthood. Can you relate to this pair?

94-year-old Charlotte Crane and Doris Redding from Missouri have been friends for—no exaggeration—90 years. They met as kids (they lived down the street from one another), stayed in touch through college, then worked together until retirement. Nowadays they reside in an assisted living/hospice facility together, still friends as they’ve always been. While we wouldn’t attempt to quantify the value-add of a longtime friend for anyone, the story about these women points out that because Crane now suffers from dementia, this friendship is an even more special gift in many ways.

In November, Redding will be 95. Crane will blow out the same number of candles the next month.

[Redding's daughter] Deubel speculated her mother and her lifelong friend might see a century together.

“The doctor told mom once, ‘You might live to be 100 if you keep going like this,’” Deubel said. “You know, I think that might be true.”

“Friends forever” can be a lot more true than we thought. We tip our hats to this, a most awesome friendship. Rock on, ladies!

Life Journey: Important Travel Information

jpegSomeone recently asked me, “Imagine if the current version of you could go back in time, take a walk with the 5 year old version of you, and have a conversation. What would you say?”

I thought for a while; it’s one of those questions that gets you thinking. And here’s what I’d say to the 5 year old version of me:

  • “Go to a few more Grateful Dead shows because everyone is right… Jerry Garcia really is going to die!”
  • “That total eclipse of the sun you’ll see in Mexico in 1991, don’t stare at it without the protective glasses. I think that ends up causing permanent damage to your eyes.”
  • “Andrea Sarrity, the beautiful blond with whom you think you have no chance when you’re 16? Just ask her out. It will feel like a Hail Mary but trust me, she really does like you.”
  • “And make sure to tell your little brother to go to the hospital and be with Grandma Evelyn in October 2010, because she doesn’t make it through the night.”
  • “Just relax, don’t squeeze so tight. Enjoy the ride. You need some dark to enjoy the light.”

Can You Answer That Question?

If the current version of you could go on a walk with the 5 year old version of you, what would you say?

Here’s a thought.

Gabrielle Roth said, “In shamanic societies, if you came to a medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, depressed, they would ask one of four questions. When did you stop dancing? When did you stop singing? When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?

On that note, I challenge you… get into a dreamy space and tell the 5 year old version of you some secret, some story she needs to hear to make this life journey easier and remind her to keep dancing, singing, and allowing enchantment to endure.

But do it right. Set the tone. Pour yourself a lovely glass of wine, relax the lighting. Put on a crisp, beautiful song with timeless ambition (i.e., the Grateful Dead’s Sugaree or Hendrix’s Angel or Mumford’s Awake My Soul).

Most important, be a storyteller. Because if the current version of you can tell the 5 year old version a good story and put a beautiful spin on your life…

… and if you can capture the imagination and ease the fears of the 5 year old version of you…

… magic happens on the timeline.

It might go something like this, “Listen, a lot has gone wrong. But so much has gone right….”

As Ellen Goodman said, “We walk through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe today, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

Happier Challenge: Be Contagious

happier-challenge-friends-oct14Good Monday morning! Are you ready for another fabulous themed week here at Happier? Last week we challenged you to focus on your family, and this week we’ll shift focus just a little bit. Did you know that happiness has been proven contagious through social networks? It’s true! Check this out:

[R]esearchers found that when an individual becomes happy, a friend living within a mile experiences a 25 percent increased chance of becoming happy. A co-resident spouse experiences an 8 percent increased chance, siblings living within one mile have a 14 percent increased chance, and for next door neighbors, 34 percent.

And that brings us to this week’s theme—connecting with friends—starting with our challenge:

Reach out to at least one friend every day this week, and share some small happiness with them.

Be creative—make plans to get together (that’d be enough to make me happy), or share a small piece of good news, or just text ‘em to say you’re happy they’re in your life. Experiment! You’ll never regret reaching out to a buddy.

Need some more inspiration to get you going? Here you go:

  • Need a little bit of bolstering to start reaching out? Check out Lifeboat, “a movement of people rediscovering deep friendships.” They make us happier.
  • Far be it from me to miss an opportunity to insert a video of kids and puppies. Sometimes our best friends have paws!
  • Need a shortcut to reaching out, and also appreciate some cutting humor? There’s a Someecards for that.

Go forth and pass your happiness around to the folks you appreciate this week—you’ll all be happier!

Cooked Something, Ever? A Happier Giveaway!

eatInChallenge

This past week we #happierchallenge’d you to cook with your family and not dine out for an entire week. Turns out cooking and eating together is a great way to be more, well, together, and hopefully a bit happier (and healthier!) too.

How did it go? Specifically: we’d love to see some of your favorite recipes, whether you made them this week or not. We’re in the midst of a top secret project and we can’t divulge the details yet, but we assure you it’s awesome.

We want recipes of all sorts. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, linner (ok that’s not really a thing, but we think it should be). You name it, we want it. Send us a link to your favorite or snap a photo of that recipe card that’s been passed down through generations. Got so many great recipes you can’t choose? That’s fine, too. You can send us as many as you’re willing to share.

Send recipes to kimberly@happier.com or just tweet, pin, Facebook or ‘gram your favorites with #happierrecipe.

If your recipe is chosen we’ll send you something fun and exciting (and, of course, happier)!

In the meantime, I’ll just be waiting by my inbox, salivating.

The Happiest Age, And The Factor That Matters Most

happier-family-science-102514I receive a daily digest highlighting new research on happiness, and I’m not going to lie—sometimes, my eyes roll pretty far back in my head while I’m scanning through them. Having basic needs met makes you happier? You don’t say! Having more control over your own choices increases feelings of esteem? How unexpected! But every now and then a piece of research comes through that just stops me in my tracks while I ponder it.

This past week, the results of a survey in Britain concluded that people are happiest at age 58, presumably, it is concluded, because this is when our best work-life balance is achieved. I found this fascinating, and weirdly specific, but it makes sense—it’s young enough to not be old/sick and/or retired and bored, but old enough that probably the daily stressors of child-raising or even just caring about what other people think are either over and greatly diminished. I can dig it.

This, however, was not the piece of information from this study that I found the most interesting. Nope, the best part was this:

The biggest key to contentment was spending time with family, according to almost two-thirds (63%) of those who took part[.]

So all of those family-themed posts we’ve been bringing you this week? It’s not just for fun (although I hope you found it fun). It’s because family plays a huge role in our level of happiness, no matter what our age. And we’re not talking textbook-definition family, either—no need to have a specific structure mirrored in a Norman Rockwell painting, or anything; this is about spending time with the people you live with and love the best. That’s it.

Sure, family may sometimes drive us nuts, but they’re also the most important factor in making us happier. That’s a big deal.