Happiness = meaningful social connections

I’m writing this from the DC metro, which I love.  Getting from the airport to downtown dc is one of the great joys of traveling.  I can’t think of a single airport that is as conveniently connected to a major city by mass transit.

But the point of this post is not to talk about subways — but rather to mention something I heard the other day.

Cescalouise and I were watching a documentary called Life After Porn, which was great.  It followed porn stars from the 70s 80s and 90s to see where they ended up and how.

One of the patterns was the social shunning that happens once you enter the porn industry.  Not surprising, but ironic, as one person said: you bring everyone pleasure and then they want to pretend that you don’t exist.

And one of the results of that was that people can become very isolated and/or trapped within the industry community.

A historian covering the topic put it this way: happiness is the result of meaningful social connections.  (And when those are systematically cut off, and people further isolate themselves, negative situations compound themselves).

This is not necessarily a huge revelation, but still, it stood out to me.

As I wrote about last week, social connections are now earned as much as they’re inherited.  They are a garden that you get to tend and grow.  And a great joy comes from the result of that growth.

I personally get a ton of pleasure from getting to know the people around me (at my sandwich shop, my barber, the bank, etc).  But I wasn’t always good at it (I was a really shy kid growing up in a big city), and its also so easy to get swept up in the business of your day to day to take your relationships for granted.  Luckily I married someone for whom it comes super naturally, and who I’ve learned a lot from in this regard.

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