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Dear Reader,

View this page as a place where you and I can have a conversation on subjects that are meaningful to both of us. On a regular basis I plan to post a topic or question on my mind which I encourage you to respond to (see below).

On this same page you will also find some of the responses that have been sent in by those who have viewed this web site. Please feel free to submit your own questions and thoughts which I might comment on and share with other viewers. I truly look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Archive for June, 2006

Feeling Alone, Feeling Isolated

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

From the June 23 Washington Post:
”Americans are far more socially isolated today than they were two decades ago, and a sharply growing number of people say they have no one in whom they can confide, according to a comprehensive new evaluation of the decline of social ties in the United States.”
The article continues with a quote from Lynn Smith-Lovin, a Duke University sociologist who helped conduct the study. Says Smith-Lovin, ”That image of people on roofs after Katrina resonates with me, because those people did not know someone with a car. There really is less of a safety net of close friends and confidants.”
I read this article after coming home from the hospital where I visited a friend who was recovering from an angioplasty procedure earlier in the day. We have known each other for more than 45 years, having started out in the newspaper business as youngsters just out of school. We both have lost many friends during the years but we still have one another and support one another through tough and good times. He has never married and has been very vulnerable to illnesses because of his heart condition and diabetes. I am thankful I have a loving wife who was able to accompany me to visit our old friend and I thought how lucky I am to have her. Sometimes we take one another for granted, but on days like yesterday, when we see how fragile life can be, we gain greater recognition of our love for each other and appreciate one another more dearly.
Like the people cited in the Duke study, we sometimes feel social isolation, particularly as we grow older and have less contact with the people we have known. We strive to do things and put out new roots, but it is not so easy because many other people are struggling so mightily with problems in their own lives and the demands made on their time with work and responsibility.
How do you feel about this issue of social isolation? Do you have a network of friends? How do you reach out to connect with others? What advice do you have so that people don’t feel so alone. Please write us.

Bring Us Sunshine and Happy Days, Please

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Dr. Cliff Arnall, a psychologist at the University of Cardif in England, has identified June 24 as the happiest day of the year for the British. He bases this on a formula which measures good mood based on increased outdoor activity, temperature, sunlight, high energy leveals and other factors. (He also has said that January 24 is the most depressing day).
A photograph in the Friday, June 23, issue of The New York Times shows two women on the beach in Morecambe, England, performing a dance next to a statue of British comedian Eric Morecambe. They are singing the comedian’s theme song, ”Bring Me Sunshine.”
Here are the song lyrics:
Bring me sunshine in your smile bring me laughter all a while
In this world where we live there should be more happiness
So much joy you can give to each brand new bright tomorrow
Make me happy through the years never bring me any tears
Let your arms be as warm as the sun from up above
Bring me fun bring me sunshine and bring me love
Bring me sunshine in your eyes bring me rainbows from the clear blue skies
Life’s too short to be spent having anything but fun
We can be so content if we gather little sunbeams
Be light hearted darlin’ all day long keep me singing a happy song
Let your arms be as warm as the sun from up above
Bring me fun bring me sunshine and bring me love
Bring me sunshine in your smile…
Bring me fun bring me sunshine and bring me love
I like the idea of the happiest day of the year, but I also like even better the thought that we can make any day we want as the happiest day, based on our own wishes, our own determination, our own propensity to affirm the good things in our lives.
What about you? Have you ever insisted on a happy day when things initially didn’t look so bright? Were you able to turn the day into a happy one? What has been the happiest day in your own life so far? What made it so? What are the things that help make you happy? Please write to me.