Call me blessed, call me lucky, but I love my wife just as much after over 20 years of marriage. I put this down as a key as to why I live a happy and fulfilling life.
Science, it seems, agrees.
According to the Harvard Grant Study of several 100 men over the course of 75 years – the key to living a happy and fulfilling life is your relationships and love.
George Vaillant who directed the study for over 30 years, found that the friendships and connections you make with other people ultimately matter more to your happiness, especially later in life, than amassing wealth. The old adage that “Money doesn’t buy happiness” is now officially sanctioned by science.
Probably one of the most ‘wealthy’ periods of my life was saying to my wife, Susan 3 years ago, “Our daughter, Michelle is now married and grandkids won’t be far away – let’s go live in France like we’ve always talked about before grandkids arrive”. We couldn’t afford it, but I just knew we would find a way to do it.
Sure enough we found a village in the French Riviera and ended up painting shutters for 3 months – in exchange for a villa by the pool!
We had a ball. Lunch by the pool in-between shifts, with the compulsory bottle of Rose, was a highlight. When it got too hot painting, one had to slip into the pool to cool down of course! The odd weekend trip to St Tropez or Cannes on the bus wasn’t too shabby either.
Love and relationships are like tending to a garden. With your closest relationships you need to constantly be “watering the plants” – give them the highest priority and attention. The emails can wait! During our time in France I made no money, but I built my ‘wealth, health and life fulfilment’ enormously.
Are you watering your relationship garden? If not, it’s the best ‘investment’ you can make. When you are on your death bed, you’re not going to wish you spent more time at the office! Do yourself a favour and do something special with someone close to you.
By the way, 2 weeks ago, Susan and I became proud grandparents of the gorgeous Willow Margaret!