How I Made Spending Time With Friends & Family a Top Priority
Last year, I wrote a post on my 4 Pillars of Happiness. Here’s a SparkNotes summary for you: During a reflective flight to Miami, I decided to make happiness a New Year’s’ resolution. The 4 pillars are the guiding principles that have helped me achieve and maintain this resolution.
To be grateful.
To prioritize friends and family.
To do and experience more.
To help others.
Since we’re in the midst of the holiday season, I wanted to spend more time thinking about friends and family. It’s so easy to get caught up with work and other obligations during most of the year–but the holidays are a great reminder that spending time with friends and family is so important.
Here’s how I make friends and family a priority all year long.
1) I try to see my parents every week.
We currently have a weekly standing lunch when my parents are near the office.
In the past, Sunday had become a family-themed day. My parents, my brothers, and I got together and spent quality time together. While the typical generational and familial disagreements arise, it’s so rewarding to keep everyone updated on each other’s lives. Of course, seeing them frequently as they age also offers me a sense of fulfillment.
2) If I’m invited to a close one’s major life event, I always go.
Case in point: I’m currently writing this in Nassau at a friend’s wedding. (I also attended his bachelor party.)
Over the years, I’ve traveled far and wide for friend’s birthdays, their kid’s birthdays, and other milestone events. The fact that someone considers me close enough to invite to these occasions offers me a sense of gratitude for our relationship.
When we’re older, we will always remember those who went out of their way to be present in these moments. That’s why I always find a way to attend these events.
3) When traveling, always reach out to local friends or family in the city you’re visiting.
4) Whenever possible, always give more.
I’m a big proponent of the old adage that you should do unto others as you would have done unto you–but I think you can take it further. There’s power in giving more than you expect to receive in return.
Recently I was at a bachelor party of a close friend, (another) Ajay Goel. Ajay is one of the most giving people I know, so it was no surprise when he decided to offer a gift to everyone that attended his bachelor party. This was totally unexpected. It was Ajay’s way of saying thank you to all his friends who traveled to San Francisco to celebrate with him.
It was also no surprise that Ajay’s bachelor party was the largest I had ever been to. His kind and giving nature makes him a great friend–and it makes all his friends want to celebrate with him. (Plus, Ajay has an awesome new company: GMass. Check it out.)
You might’ve noticed that all four examples emphasize the importance of making the effort to spend time–whether it’s on a weekday for lunch or on a major life event like a wedding–with those you love most.
The holidays are special because it’s one of the few times of the year that everyone puts aside other things to be together. Still, that doesn’t mean that it should be the only time of the year you do so. Take it from me: A commitment to seeing my friends and family whenever possible has made everyone happier.
Ajay Pattani is a lifelong resident of Chicagoland and is fiercely passionate about his white wine. If he could be a spokesperson for any product, it would have to be white wine. Ajay says if he could be good at one thing, it would be reading minds. If you could read his now, he’d most likely be thinking about white wine.