Photo by aleksandra sapozhnikova via Unsplash

How can we make 2022 a happier year than 2021?  I posed that question in last week’s blog and have some good answers from writers, friends and readers, as well as my own ideas about how to keep our spirits up. 

Much of what enriches our lives derives from friendships.  “Make Old Friends:  How to Build Lasting Ties” is an article by Ben Healy I saved a couple of yearsago.  COVID exposure avoidance has definitely made making new friends more difficult but Healy suggests reconnecting with old friends “can quickly recapture much of the trust they previously built, while offering each other a dash of novelty drawn from whatever they’ve been up to in the meantime.”   It’s true.  I reconnected with a college roommate recently and, though much has happened since we last saw each other (25 years ago?), spending time together was easy and fun.  And despite the ridicule I suffer from my children, I like to keep up with my Facebook friends.

The other path to happiness is to try to appreciate every day.  This is more difficult than it sounds because it is so easy to get tied up in knots over not much. I recently read a note written by a young woman who was dealing with a terminal illness.  She understood that for friends who were not in her situation, it seemed impossible but that she was able to enjoy her life and be happy every day.  I find that taking a walk, whether along a wooded path or on a city sidewalk gives me plenty to listen to (birds), smile at (parents with children) and pet (dogs).  It’s hard to rouse myself to take the walk, but I always come away happier.  And when I do it with a friend, it’s even better.

Here is what Janet Alonzo, my friend from Fourth Grade, wrote in response to last week’s question:

There is so much we can’t control!…But after some thought I came up with something….NEVER WATCH THE NEWS!  I wish I could pull that off but I doubt it.  I think I’ll just have to keep holding onto my very dear family.  They make everything better all the time.  Happy New Year to you and yours.

Have a Good Week!



About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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