Coffee with a Friend

Today is Day 13 of my Happiness Hacks series.

Coffee with a FriendDoing this Happiness Hacks series has had an excellent side benefit. Because I need to have something to write about every day, I actually need to do something that makes me happy every day. This writing series is helping me learn to say “yes” to the right things.

In my not-too-distant past, I only rarely “had time” to meet a friend for lunch or coffee. My ever-growing to do list seemed too daunting, and I ran (sometimes literally) from task to task, because I just needed to get more things done, gosh darn it.

Time spent chatting and hanging out with friends seemed to me to be an indulgence that just didn’t fit with my productive, fast-moving life.

But this fall, in the pre-season to my personal “Super Bowl” of reaching 50, I am being more conscious of prioritizing the right things, the things that refuel me and actually make me feel better and behave better with my family.  I’m no longer viewing these rejuvenating times as an indulgence, but instead I’m seeing phone calls, walks, lunches, and coffees with my people as a vital and important contributor to my mental health and relationships. Yesterday, I wrote about how my husband and I have been on two dates in two weeks, which is a miracle of sorts. My schedule is reflecting my changed priorities.

Today’s happiness hack was a coffee and call date with a friend. Kathleen was a college classmate of mine, but we weren’t close back then. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if she’d remember me when I reached out to her via a Facebook message last October. I had read about a book she’s writing, and my message started with, “Not sure if you remember me, but I’m a Stanford classmate. I’ve been following your writing and work and just preordered ten copies of your book. I have three daughters, and I work with hundreds of teen girls at my summer camp, so I am very interested in this topic. I am very concerned about the way girls are treated and the way they treat themselves. The stories my high school and college daughters tell me are heart breaking.”

Thus began a friendship that’s been a blessing in my life over this past year. We’ve had a few phone calls, several emails, and one lengthy, delicious homemade lunch at her home. We have so many common interests and an endless list of discussion topics, and I’ve enjoyed every conversation and interaction we’ve had.

Kathleen reached out to connect this month. Because we live three hours away from each other, we “met” this morning on a phone call over hot cups of coffee. We shared what’s been going on in our lives – with our families, our writing, and our journeys towards being kinder to ourselves. She gave me validation, support, and encouragement in my writing and life. And I reciprocated, because I’m a big fan of Kathleen and her work.

I finished the call feeling connected and energized by Kathleen’s wisdom and encouragement. Talking with Kathleen was such a great happiness boost for me today. She’s a new friend who feels like an old one.

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