We all have our “Happy Places”. Those places we go either virtually or in reality that allow us a little break from the crazier more stressful parts of our lives. We all need them, and they can be secret and personal, known only to you – or blatant and obviously announced, as in “I’m going to my Happy Place and no one can stop me!”
Fantasy Happy Places are those images or thoughts we can pull from that file cabinet drawer in the back of our mind when we need to just stop and breathe and find a little peace. Your fantasy Happy Place could be a tropical island, the top of a mountain, a boat in the middle of the ocean, someplace warm and cozy with a special loved one, or a high-end spa with Sven the handsome masseuse catering to your every need. These Fantasy Happy Places are great because they are truly portable. You can go there at any moment when needed – when you are stuck in traffic, when you are stressed and overwhelmed at work, or maybe when your child is having a temper tantrum. Take a deep breath and conjure up that Fantasy Happy Place.
Uncommon Happy Places are real, but they aren’t something you get to experience frequently… so they may exist in your memory bank, to be brought back when needed. Walking on your favorite beach, exploring a quiet stream with your child, having a successful shopping trip, going out for a therapeutic Chick’s Night (or Board Meeting, as I call them)…. Those are all very real, very do-able, but not necessarily something you can do in reality at a moment’s notice. They are extra special because you really have experienced them in your past, so that warm fuzzy feeling comes back quickly.
Common Happy Places are your daily go-to moments. At the end of a long, tiring day, where is your Happy Place? Is it going for a walk with your dog? A long bike ride? Is it sitting in your favorite rocker just staring out your window? Is it laying down on your big comfy bed? How about, Real Women, that Happy Place of locking yourself in your bathroom for a bubble bath? For me, one of my many Happy Places in the summer is my flower garden. After work, I’ll roam out to my backyard and see what has bloomed that day. It is hard to be grumpy when you are looking at some of nature’s wonders…. How do you NOT smile when looking at a clump of daisies? Sure, my wandering also brings to mind an inventory of the maintenance items I need to do out there – the weeds to be pulled, the deadheads to be clipped, the pots to be watered – but I try to force those out of my mind, or at least make a list of them to deal with later. I just breathe and let any yuck from the day disappear in the face of a rose. Then I pad back to the house, maybe taking a couple of cut flowers with me, and promise myself I’ll visit again tomorrow – because I need to take advantage of this particular Happy Place while it is available, before the blooms fade in the heat of mid-summer. And when that happens, I’ll move on to a different Happy Place. Like sitting on the edge of the pool with a fruity drink in hand.