The above quote flashed on the screen at the beginning of “Book Club, The Next Chapter”, the sequel to “The Book Club”, as a reminder that we can’t let life happen to us; we must create our destiny. It’s a fun, light, entertaining movie about the same friend group as in the first and a welcome diversion from our polarized world of the “right and left”, the “haves and have-nots”, the devastating climate and natural disasters that dominate our newsfeeds every day.
Reflecting on the movie, I thought about my circle of friends and how they’ve enriched my life.
The saying about us being able to choose our friends, unlike our family, can be harsh, but there is truth to it. So many people circulate in and out of our lives, but only the ones who add value and joy become the friends we need to have a happy, fulfilled life. As we grow older, it gets easier to weed out toxic people who only weigh us down. Fun is never overrated, and a good laugh (the kind that makes your stomach hurt) is the best therapy of all.
I also happened onto the most exhilarating (and uplifting) interview on TV with Arthur Brooks, a Harvard Professor who co-wrote a book with Oprah about happiness. Their theory is that happiness is a science, not a feeling, and the four pillars of achieving happiness are:
1. Faith (not necessarily the conventional kind), but possibly something like mine where I have faith in nature and if I nurture it, my newly planted perennial garden will survive the winter!
4. Work…the kind where you give back to the community.
The part of the interview about friendships was particularly interesting. Arthur Brooks said friends should be “useless“, NOT “useful“! That sounded alarming on the surface, but what he means is that we need “real” (useless) friends who are in our lives for our enjoyment and not “deal” (useful) friends who are there to give us something in return, i.e. transactional (not to say that business associates can’t be real friends too). He tries to talk to each of his friends for at least an hour a week! Now, that’s a real commitment to nurturing friendships and perhaps not always feasible, but we can agree that it would boost our personal “happiness”.
I’m fortunate to have a supportive, fun, entertaining and loyal group of friends. Each offers a different perspective, adding a rich layer to my personal growth.
Going out for coffee or lunch is always a good idea…I hope you find time to spend with a good friend…xox Judy❤️