Vacations usually happen over the course of several days and can sometimes take several weeks, so if you’re going to take company along you’ll want to make sure you really like them. You’re also making memories that last for a lifetime. Generally speaking, people who take vacations together not only enjoy each other’s company, but are happy to make memories together, so if you take vacations together it’s a good sign that you and your love are truly committed.
All that said, though, I am somebody who has spent a large chunk of her professional life interviewing people, and I trust my ability to watch and listen closely. Moreover, like all of us, whenever I enter the family homes of strangers, I am quick to notice the ways in which they may look at or do things differently than my family looks at or does things. Let us say, then, that my role that day in that Hmong household was that of a more-than-averagely observant visitor who was paying a more-than-average amount of attention to her more-than-averagely expressive hosts. In that role, and only in that role, I feel fairly confident reporting what I did not see happening that day in Mai’s grandmother’s house. I did not see a group of women sitting around weaving overexamined myths and cautionary tales about their marriages. The reason I found this so notable was that I have watched women all over the world weave overexamined myths and cautionary tales about their marriages, in all sorts of mixed company, and at the slightest provocation. But the Hmong ladies did not seem remotely interested in doing that. Nor did I see these Hmong women crafting the character of “the husband” into either the hero or the villain in some vast, complex, and epic Story of the Emotional Self.
Suddenly, Officer Mary bursts onto the scene. Wayde produces a gun and tries to shoot the lady cop, but Fran flies in front of her and takes the shot. As Fran crumples to the ground, two other officers appear and shoot and kill Wayde. Gloria is carted off and Officer Mary is thankful that Fran saved her life. Relieved the ordeal is over, Fran is happy to repent for her sins of lust and passion. As she waits in the ambulance, Fran asks for God's forgiveness.
I don’t mean to imply that the Hmong don’t believe their children matter; on the contrary, they are famous in anthropological circles for building some of the world’s most exceptionally loving families. But this was clearly not a society that worshiped at the Altar of Individual Choice. As in most traditional societies, Hmong family dogma might effectively be summed up not as “You matter” but as “Your role matters.” For, as everyone in this village seemed to know, there are tasks at hand in life—some tasks that men must do and some tasks that women must do—and everyone must contribute to the best of his or her abilities. If you perform your tasks reasonably well, you can go to sleep at night knowing that you are a good man or a good woman, and you need not expect much more out of life or out of relationships than that.
25Romance readers are, of course, not blind to the impression of similarity created by the line template, but they are nonetheless able to ascribe to it a different meaning. This interpretative difference is located in two aspects. First, whereas the public tends to connote the extensive visual and material similarity of the line template in a rather negative way (category romances are generally considered inferior forms of literature because they are – or at least materially appear to be – so similar), the category romance reader is inclined to interpret this similarity more positively as a code for the strong conventionality that is part and parcel of the category romance format and that its target reader appreciates. Second, the romance reader again, as in her reading of the clinch, detects a number of coded information parameters in the line template that in her eyes develop a more specific textual identity. For example, the template’s dominant color scheme is often a code for the tone or subgenre of the line, as red signifies sensual lines, purple is conventionally reserved for suspenseful lines, white is typical of medical lines, etc. The line number printed on the spine of each category romance further reinforces the public’s interpretation of the category romance novel as a standardized assembly-line product (Kamble 181), but to the romance reader this number denotes information about the line. The higher the number, the older the line is ; the older the line, the more likely it is to have proven its (commercial) success, but, by the same token, the more risk it runs of being outdated in the fast-changing, trend-sensitive popular romance genre.
This is the type of love that is the stuff of countless poems, songs, films, and fantasies. The all-consuming, heart-skips-a-beat, shooting stars in the sky during a kiss, can’t wait until he/she calls, crazy kind of love. Most committed partnerships start here (romantic love usually doesn’t last more than a year), in the phase of intensity, “connection”, longing, focus, and feeling that is hard to describe and feels special. What a ride this can be! This is the stage where people generally describe being “in love” or “falling in love”, and is the stage of courting and being in a state of “fusion”.

To understand the unlikelihood of the Hmong’s continued existence on this planet you have to imagine what it would be like if, for instance, the Mohawk were still living in upstate New York exactly as they had for centuries, dressing in traditional clothing, speaking their own language, and absolutely refusing to assimilate. Stumbling on a Hmong village like this one, then, in the early years of the twenty-first century is an anachronistic wonder. Their culture provides a vanishingly rare window into an older version of the human experience. All of which is to say, if you want to know what your family was like four thousand years ago, they were probably something like the Hmong.

“Soul, bless the Lord. All that is within me. We’re all in, and let’s repeat. Soul, let’s not forget his benefits. And now into the routine part. Let’s rehearse some of these benefits,” and he starts going through them. What kind of benefits are you talking about? Well, he actually forgives all your iniquities. He forgives all your iniquities, now and tomorrow and forever. He heals all your diseases. He sometimes miraculously heals you the moment you ask, sometimes over time, but ultimately all your diseases are going to be healed. He heals all your diseases.
In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.
3This lack of critical attention paid to the romance novel in general and its material characteristics in particular may be a consequence of the widespread cultural prejudice that all romance novels are essentially the same. Although academics are generally taught to be critical of cultural stereotypes, in the case of the popular romance novel the academy seems to overwhelmingly buy into – and frequently even be at the origin of – the ingrained stereotypes of conventionality, formula and simplicity that surround the genre. As a result, the popular romance genre is largely ignored by academics, who deem books that are supposedly all the same unworthy of their critical attention. Somewhat surprisingly, a similar mechanism plays out within the developing field of popular romance studies with regard to the genre’s materiality.2 Underlying this disregard is, I believe, the tacit assumption that the romance novel’s materiality, which even more than other aspects of the genre is imbued with stereotypes and conventions, is a relatively simplistic and straightforward aspect of the genre that is free of the interpretative complexities romance scholars now regularly (and, notably, against the cultural grain) uncover in the genre’s texts.
Donating your time can have the same effect. In a recent review of 40 studies done over the last 20 years, researchers found that volunteering was one of the most successful ways to boost psychological health. Volunteering was found to be linked with a reduced risk of depression, a higher amount of overall satisfaction, and even a reduced risk of death from of a physical illness as a consequence of mental distress.
Regardless of the perspective, science is generally pretty hard on romantic love, whether it is seen as a “goal oriented motivation state”, an “illusion”, a fantasy projection, or just really dramatic lust. Either way, it is normal for romantic love to end (slowly or abruptly) when the illusions and projections are forced to change as we learn more about the actual human being in the relationship with us (“oh he/she isn’t a god/goddess after all!”), or the intensity of the drive naturally subsides.
At a time when it seems that nearly everyone has a Friendster account, Moore says, "You can do really creepy stuff. You can get the profiles on everyone in your local café, then see who their friends are, and just walk up to them and ask, 'Aren't you Tom's friend?'" More disturbing, Moore's toolkit allows him to get zip codes and last names, making it easier to track down the real-world addresses of his targets, thus opening up a whole new universe of creepiness. "You could do all sorts of mean things," he says.

Multimedia pioneer Marc Canter's fledgling Friendster-esque social networking site, People Aggregator, is built on FOAF. The beauty of the system, he says, is that personal data can be searched and assembled as easily as blog entries are now. "You can't break down relationships to the ultimate granularity," Filkins admits, but you can keep up with who's looking for a hookup.


Fix anything that’s broken. Another way to feel happier is to take a good, long look at your life and to change whatever you can change to make yourself feel happier. Though you may not be able to make dramatic changes, like changing your career all of a sudden, there are small things you can do that can make a big difference. If something’s not working for you, then fixing it will definitely make you happier.

1For the last few decades romance has been the popular genre par excellence in the English-speaking world. With sales figures that average around $ 1.36 billion a year, a readership of nearly 75 million people in the U.S. alone and a 13.4 % share of the American consumer book market in 2011, the popular romance novel is by far the best-selling genre in America (“About the Romance Genre”). In 2010 a staggering 8,240 new romance titles were released in the U.S., and 469 of these novels became national or international bestsellers. Harlequin, the most important romance publisher in the world, “publishes over 110 titles a month in 31 languages in 111 international markets on six continents” (“About Harlequin”). On average, the company sells about 130 million books a year (“Over Ons”) ; since its inception in the mid-twentieth century an astounding total of over 6 billion popular romance novels have been sold by this publisher alone (“About Harlequin”).
Our parents were onto something when they reminded us to always write our thank-you notes—doing so can make you healthier and happier. What’s more, being grateful may lead to other positive emotions (including a boost in energy and optimism) and well-being. Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Emmons RA, McCullough ME. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2003, May.;84(2):0022-3514. Besides simply thanking people, try keeping a gratitude journal, and write down what you’re thankful for every day. Experts maintain that jotting down even one sentence of gratitude a day can boost feelings of happiness.
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