My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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info for students

The count is nearly at 93,000! Be there or be square.

For anyone interested in taking my courses, here’s the latest: True to Life at Ryerson begins this coming Monday at 6.30, and at last count, there was room. The advanced section of this course, scheduled for Tuesdays, has unfortunately been cancelled.
I am teaching an advanced course, however, at U of T, starting the following Monday. It’s the same approach to the work, taught in the same way in a different part of town and called Life Stories. Please see this website under “Teaching” for links to both Ryerson and U of T.
Or else, please contact me. I’m available to work one-on-one on memoir, personal essay, family history – getting you going, guiding you along the way, and editing.
Just came back from a photography gallery opening, the friend of a friend’s shots of Venice. Made me want to jump instantly on a plane and into a gondola, though I do realise that, in fact, I’ve only been back a few months from my grand European adventure. It seems a long time ago already. Perhaps you, my readers, miss that adventure nearly as much as I do, as I drone on and on about films and TV programs and horrible Harper. I apologise if it’s dull. But this is Toronto in January. Films and television and the anti-proroguing movement are as exciting as it gets.
So, for today’s excitement, let me tell you about the tail end of a program about happiness that I watched last night on PBS. I didn’t turn it on earlier because I was busy and also thought, I don’t need that, I’m pretty happy already. But it was so interesting I was sorry I’d missed the first bit. The show talked about the contagiousness of happiness – that it’s been proven that the happiness of one person spreads manyfold through his or her acquaintances.
They showed “forgiveness courses” – designed to teach how to let go of pain, resentment and anger, and move on. Another example of moving on showed a couple whose 17-year old daughter, their only child, was among the scores of kids murdered at Virginia Tech. Their daughter used to work as a volunteer, helping to repair homes in Appalachia. What her parents do now, to keep the memory of their child alive, is to regularly take groups of teenagers to Appalachia to do the same thing. That way, they have young people in their lives, and they are visiting people she used to visit. It was a very moving segment.
The show presented research that’s been done on the brains of Tibetan monks, intense and motionless while meditating; the scientists had presumed their brain scans would be pretty flat but instead found a great deal of activity, primarily in the part of the brain where happiness resides. So – meditating makes you happy, having happy friends makes you happy, forgiving makes you happy.
And, amazingly, so does getting older. Getting old. Young people think that the elderly are miserable because of ill health, the death of loved ones and the other misfortunes of aging. And these things are saddening and difficult. But the measurements of relative happiness, apparently, are lowest in young people and highest in the elderly. Aware of mortality, the old have a sense of perspective and truly relish what’s important, in a way those younger do not.
In the end, was the conclusion, the most important prerequisites for happiness are our social networks and relationships, whatever those may be. We need each other. Even if, in these modern times, we make many of our bonds with invisible strangers through a computer screen, they’re still bonds.
These days, what makes me happy is my connection, not just with all of you out there reading this blog, but with my 95,429 (I just checked) brethren who also want the Canadian government to get back to work.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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Coming soon

A new book by Beth Kaplan, published by Mosaic Press – “Midlife Solo”

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