Shakespeare said in his writing of Romeo and Juliette, "Parting is such sweet sorrow," and when you have to say goodbye to someone you love, it can be bitter-sweet: Sweet because of the time you shared and bitter because it is over.
We can feel sorrow for the loss of people, places, and things. There has been a lot of loss created by the events of 2020. People lost loved ones to Covid-19. Others lost their homes to firestorms that ravaged many states across the west. Still even more lost their jobs and businesses to the riots that went unchecked for most of last summer. America is in a state of grief and we are overwhelmed by the sucker punches that we were unprepared for. Many will never recover from the losses they experienced and at best are on survival mode. Children also have lost many things; friends, schools, and an escape from their parents. I never thought I would hear so many children WISH they could return to school and the things of the past. Couples who have been forced together for months on end, with no social escape, no dining out, not movies, and no clubs to entertain them have fallen into stale routines bored out of their brains. Anger became the only acceptable emotion and expressing it added to the loss.
In a TED talk, Psychiatrist Robert Waldinger of Harvard College shares that he is the 4th generation researcher to participate in a 75 year study on happiness. Since 1938, researchers began to study 724 lives of two groups of men to find out what made them happy and the study still continues today. The results show that "loneliness kills" and "good relationships keep us healthy and happier." Today, 1 in 5 people report they are lonely and that was reported prior to the CoronaVirus pandemic. Children have lost connection with their school friends and have been restricted from seeing grandparents in the name of "protecting" them. Women have tried to find ways to stay connected with girlfriends through chats, social media, and long phone calls. Men lost social connections with unprecedented job losses. Some people have replaced real friendships with "Facebook friends." It's not the number of friends, it's the quality of your connections that counts. Couples who continue living in toxic relationships has shown to result in unhealthy changes in mental and physical abilities as we age. Conversely, good connections later into life helped with memory retention, good health, and wellbeing. Keeping up with good relationships, frequent interactions, and having that person who has your back has shown to be the true marker of happiness, and isn't that what we all want?