Disclaimer:     No one has cornered the market on happiness, and the approaches I discuss are simply one man’s humble opinions.  Happiness is a journey.  You don’t have to be there, but instead, make it destination, and a goal within your journey…


This is a tricky one.  Being in a close, functioning relationship seems to be the exception to the rule nowadays, and you are hearing this from an optimist.  If you are fortunate enough to have a life partner who makes you happy, you are blessed, and let’s leave it at that.  However, a marriage or union is not the only relationship I’m talking about here.


Close relationships refer to all your relationships.  If you have children, do you have the blessing of being close to them?  With two children now living in New York and our last in her freshman year at JMU, (Duuukes), we are card-carrying members of the “empty nest” club.  It isn’t easy to stay close and connected to kids, but it’s certainly worth the effort.   Your kids may live in New York, across the country, or even on another continent, but you can stay connected through emails, Skype, text messages, or cell phones.  Once again, however, we can look beyond our relationships with our family members to find connections.


What about friends?  It seems the older we get, the more difficult it is to make new friends.  Maybe this is because as we get older, we expect more from our friends.  Look around the next time you have a party or get together with friends, and you might be surprised to see the majority of those you are with have been with you for a long, long time.


The fact is, it’s hard to maintain close relationships.  It’s even harder to create new relationships.  I, for one, do not think it has as much to do with age as other people do.  I think it has to do with proximity to other people around our age.  When you are in school, it’s easy to find others to make lasting friendships with.  Being in a pool of 500 – 600 kids in a public high school does increase one’s odds of finding someone you can connect with.


The truth is, as we get older, our pool of friend decreases and we run the risk of doing something that almost always leads to sadness.  Isolation.  We wish it for small periods of time, but by nature, we are a species that desires company.  Therein lies the problem.


“Note to reader – what you are about to read is something Rob wishes he did – but doesn’t necessarily do as of this writing.”


We’ve got to take that pottery class, sign up for the frickin’ barn room dancing class, take guitar lessons, and commit to the frickin’ exercise outlet we need to act on.  Now!  We’ll, be happier if we do, and if you need some social contact, you’re going to be increasing your chances of finding it.


Close relationships, or the active, honest pursuit of them, contributes to happiness.

  • So does engaging in meaningful activity.
  • So does acting happy.
  • So does optimism.
  • So does having control in our lives.


If only the notion of happiness could be solved in a half dozen BLArticles™.  I know that I am only skimming the surface of something quite complex, but I am hoping I may have provided you with a hint, or a spark, or a push in the right direction.  You may only take one idea from the past six Blarticles™ about happiness, but that one idea may lead you to a new outlook.  If so, I’ve done my job as a guide with many of the flaws I write about… but as a writer who truly believes that the art of happiness is obtainable to anyone.  It sure is worth a try.


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