More Happier: The Value of Childhood Friends and Road Trips, and the Joy of Being Back in a Routine

Something Making Us (More) Happier

  • Elizabeth: A high-school friend moved back to Los Angeles.
  • Gretchen: I enjoy being back in the school-year routine.


I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You

On the July 26, 2022, episode of the podcast Decoder Ring, titled “The Mall Is Dead (Long Live the Mall),” host Willa Paskin observes, “There are two kinds of Americans in the world. Those who have had a mall in their life, and those who haven’t.”

Inspired by that comment, we discuss the malls in our lives. 

We mention the novel The Passage by Justin Cronin (Amazon, Bookshop).

Spotlight on a Tool

For people involved in youth sports, I recommend the BallparkDJ app, which comes highly recommended by a friend. “BallparkDJ was designed by a father and coach who struggled for years to find an audio app that combined music and voice for walk-up introductions for baseball and other youth athletic events.”

Happiness Lessons from the Real Housewives: Elizabeth loves a girls’ trip — often featured on the Real Housewives.


What we want out of a vacation changes as we age. It changes from vacation to vacation. There was a time when it was all about culture for me. My idea of a real break was to stay in museums until my legs ached and then go stand in line to get tickets for an opera or a play. Later I became a disciple of relaxation and looked for words like beach and massage when making my plans. I found those little paper umbrellas that balanced on the side of rum drinks to be deeply charming then. Now I strive for transcendent invisibility and the chance to accomplish the things I can’t get done at home. But as I pack up my room at the Hotel Bel-Air, I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again.

 Ann Patchett, “Do Not Disturb,” This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage




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