"Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister?"
— Alice Walker
a new study conducted by DePaux University, having a sister is one factor that contributes to making someone happy. People with at least one sister report better social support, more optimism, and better coping abilities. I know this for a fact, because if either Nadine or I are in a rotten or sad mood, the other one can lift her spirits.
Even though we had our share of fights as kids (we used to hit, pinch, spit, you name it!), when I went off to college, our friendship bonded and it's never let up--only grown stronger. We both went off to Asia in 1986, and we both visited each other in China and Japan. I remember getting off the plane in Chengdu and seeing her, and bursting into tears, because I had missed her so much.
After I had my miscarriages, Nadine called me EVERY DAY to check on me. She was a huge support while Chris was in the hospital. I got to be there when her twins were born, and she was with us when both Kieran and Nicholas were born. I can't imagine my life without her. She is such a rock for me.
So thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving me a sister (I know you didn't have much choice in the matter). Some of our friends have told us that they wish they had sisters, and I can completely understand that. But I'm especially glad to have a sister because both of us have ALL BOYS. No daughters. So we need each other more than ever, with all that testosterone! (I ran into a coworker at Trader Joe's today with her 4-year-old daughter, and she told me that her daughters were going to be a fairy and an angel for Halloween. No fairies or angels in my house. I have Dracula and a pirate! Not that I mind...probably fits my style more.)
In addition to having a sister, here are the other things that contribute to a person's happiness:
- You smiled a lot in college (those people were up to five times less likely to be divorced years later)--if you smile a lot, you might attract other happy people or your positive attitude might influence a spouse.
- You're not glued to the TV (the happiest people spend less time watching TV)--you are more likely to read, socialize, or being spiritual (all habits linked to happier, healthier people)
- You keep mementos or photos on display to remind yourself of happy memories
- You make exercise a priority
- You have a healthy love life
- You hang out with happy people
- You stay warm with a warm beverage (they elicit positive feelings)
- You have at least two close friends
Happy birthday, Nadine. I love you!