I don’t know about you, but I often feel like I am perpetually in the fast lane. Life happens and whizzes by so quickly. The same is true for many others I know. We shuttle the kids to school, go to work, go to after-school activities and sports, and then to bed. Weekends are the same, just with more household chores and no business attire. Then repeat.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. While life can be a bit of a blur at times, I love being a father, husband, and a lawyer. And I certainly would not wish for any different life. However, somedays it would be nice to be able to slow down just a bit to appreciate my surroundings. Indeed, as the wise-beyond-his-years Ferris Bueller proclaimed: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you might miss it.”
That’s so true, and we all know it. But with all of the technological advances that allow us to be in virtual constant contact with each other and the 24/7 newsreel, what exactly is it that we are missing?
Relationships. Not ones through social media, email, or in-passing at school drop-off or in the hallway at work. Good solid relationships with in-person conversation and some human touch (I’m a hugger). Those take time to develop and nurture. Time we don’t have or choose to believe we don’t have because … (you fill in the blanks).
What is the cost of a decline in fostering relationships and making meaningful connections with others? Not much…just our happiness and health.
In a TED talk entitled “What Makes a Good Life?“, Robert Waldinger explains more as he shares the findings of a unique Harvard study on happiness. The study took a group of young boys from well-to-do means and compared them to boys from indigent families and tracked them all over a lifespan of 75 years. It captured data about the health, wealth, and simply what happened to them in life and how they felt about it. It is very impactful and a must see (click here to watch).
The results of the study showed (and no surprise here) that those who were happier with their life were also the healthiest and tended to live the longest. More interestingly, however, was that the study also supported the notion that happiness did not have any correlation to socio-economic status, education, or career success. Indeed, some of those men who reported being happiest and living the longest began life as the poorest and never achieved the social status or wealth that society might label as “success.”
What was their secret? Relationships. Good solid relationships. That is why they had a good life.
So my call to action this month is to focus on fostering relationships. Whether it is reaching out to old friends that have been out of touch, spending more quality family time, or finally making good on that “let’s get together soon” promise, there are a variety of ways we can connect better. Our happiness and our health depend on it.
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an Orange County estate planning attorney and elder law attorney. He is all about family and has a passion for educating his community. He enjoys helping people protect what matters most and inspiring them to be the best versions of themselves they can be.