The production of this month’s feature on happiness coincided with the 10th anniversary of the summer my dear friend Christina lost her father. Dr. Fari Amini was a person of outsize impact: a father of six, a nationally noted psychotherapist, and co-author of an excellent book on attachment theory, A General Theory of Love.
At his funeral, several prominent eulogists introduced themselves simply by their patient slots: I was Monday, 2 ’o clock. I was Thursday at 7.
I only met Dr. Amini a few times, but the brief counsel I received from him was one of the wisest, truest things a person might pass on. My impromptu therapy session took place around a kitchen table, when several college friends had gathered at Christina’s parents’ place. I think we were playing cards, and talking about whatever you talk about when you’re having a quarter-life crisis: trying to figure out where to live, who to love, and what sort of professional ambitions you might have.
Dr. Amini (I would have been too intimidated to refer to him as Fari) had been on the outskirts of the conversation, but couldn’t help but interject. So Rachel, he asked, What do you really want to be doing? What makes you most happy? We’d never so much as had a conversation about the weather, and there he was, cutting right to the core with life’s most important questions. After a few fits and starts and caveats, I managed to eke out an answer. He may have nodded pensively.
Then, his follow-up, not at all accusatory, but certainly direct: Why aren’t you doing it? Bam. My heart sank into my stomach.
Over the years, Christina, along with other friends and family members, has been infinitely supportive of my quest to be doing it: the combination of things that makes me feel I lead a satisfied life. In honor of Fari Amini, I encourage you to ask yourself life’s big questions, to be accountable for the answers, and to help others do the same.
One more thing: Karen Schneider’s work on a new book prohibits her from continuing as our style editor, so she has passed the (cashmere) mantle to Jahna Peloquin, who local fashionistas will recognize as a veteran of the scene, expertly covering the style beat and producing chic events. Find out more about Jahna and her perspective on the year’s biggest style show, and watch for more of Karen’s essays to be published in the future.