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  • Betty Girardeau

Find Your Happy Place


According to the result of a survey conducted in late May by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, Americans are more unhappy than they have been in over 50 years. Respondents noted feelings of isolation, anger and frustration, and a loss of optimism about the future. Thinking about the last six months these results are all too easy to understand. Many have had every reason to feel overwhelmed by the many life circumstances that have developed over which they feel they have little or no control. Thankfully, I don't feel particularly unhappy these days, though I would admit that if some things would change, I would be happier. But why do I not feel as badly as many others apparently feel? Probably the biggest reason is that I have lived long enough to know that nothing stays the same. Things may get worse, but eventually they will get better. I was curious to see what suggestions I would find if I looked up "how to be happy," and I discovered that consciously and unconsciously I was already doing most of the things on a list entitled "10 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Incredibly Happy." These included such things as exercising, getting outside more, being creative, and smiling more. I have to give my cat Sully a lot of credit for the latter item. He is a very silly cat who insists on jumping on my bed before I go to bed and again when I get up in the morning and rolling on his back and begging me to rub his tummy and under his chin. The "begging" part always makes me laugh and smile. I have become thankful for this routine that both starts and ends my day. Photography has given me a majority of the other things that I do that make and keep me happy. Today's picture was one that I entered in a recent photo contest where the submission was to show your concept of serenity. I can easily imagine myself in this picture, warmed by the sun, listening to the wind stirring the leaves and plants and to the singing of birds, a place where time can stand still for a bit. It must have resonated with the peer reviewers, too, because it was in the top 25% of photos entered. I hope you have someone or something that daily makes you happy, even for just a little while. And I hope you have a happy place, even if it is just in your mind or memory, where you can also go to get temporary relief from the cares of this world that currently seems out of control. I am so glad that I have mine.

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