Being happy where you are

by Jill Sockman

I’m spending a little time in Florida this week to celebrate my mom’s birthday. I’ve been coming here since I was a little girl and every time I’m here I’m reminded there are memories stored in every nook and cranny; ghosts and treasures are tucked away around every corner.

Days are lazy, and always begin with a walk along the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve been walking this stretch of perfect white sand pretty much my whole life. What I love about it is that while it’s always the same place, the beach is different every day. Some days the water is crystal clear and still as a lake. Other days it’s choppy and cloudy with waves like the ocean. Each day the sea brings a different gift to the shore: a certain kind of shell in proliferation, a red seaweed, starfish, tiny minnows, sand dollars. I don’t know what causes it, but it’s always been this way.

Not too long ago an article came across my screen titled, “People Who Live at the Beach are Happier” or some such thing. I didn’t bother to read it, because I think we have reached a point where we can prove anything with a study, and as a skeptic, I generally believe it is mostly just bunk. However, as I completed yet another ritual morning, walking through perfect white sand, gentle clear blue water lapping at my feet; alone, but in the company of ibis, pelicans, sandpipers and osprey, dolphins entertaining us a few feet offshore; it made me wonder if maybe there was something to this idea after all.

Since I will not be moving to this little paradise in the foreseeable future, and do not want to be among those who are apparently Less Happy Because We Don’t Live at the Beach, what to do? I’ve got a couple of ideas I want to try when I get home:

  • A slower pace. Nothing is rushed here. There’s no need. How about packing that one up and taking it home?
  • Nature. I know this. We all know this. We feel better when we spend less time inside and more time outside. Let’s do that.
  • More play and less work. I have to earn a living and so do you. But I know I spend a lot of time spinning unproductively, not actually working, but pretending to work. Thinking about work. Staring blankly at the blue screen, wasting precious moments of life. Let’s NOT do that.

I hope you have a restful, fun, slow-paced holiday weekend. I hope you’ll spend some time outside. I hope you’ll work less and play more. And maybe we can all be a little Happier Right Where We Are.