Happy Places

As I sit here on the pier, on Sunday morning, enjoying a cup of joe, I’ve finally figured out why the beach is my happy place.


Because everyone here is happy.

This place represents vacation and leisure time, unlike the rest of the world that we live in. Of course, I’m referring to work, the grocery store, gas station, post office, drug store, dry cleaners, and the multitude of other places, where people are hurrying around living their lives in overdrive. And I’m no exception. I get just as caught up in the chaos as everyone else, forgetting to stop and “smell the roses…”

The other folks on the pier are enjoying breakfast and I get an occasional whiff of bacon. I hear their laughter and easy conversation, as they lounge in their chairs the way people do when they’ve got nowhere to be.

Farther out, at the end of the pier, some folks are casting their lines into the water, hoping to catch the evening’s dinner. 


The sun is shining brightly from a clear, blue sky, causing the waves to sparkle. On those glistening waves, a group of surfers are paddling furiously, trying to catch the next good one. They are young and lithe, sporting skin the color of coconuts. 

On the beach below me is a volleyball game and I’m pleased to see that the four players are middle-aged. They’re pretty skilled with the ball and look like locals. There’s something about the way they focus intently on the game and each other; totally ignoring the two tourists who observe nearby.

The rest of the beach is dotted with various people: runners, walkers, bicyclers, sun worshippers, children playing in the sand, older couples hidden behind paperback books, and an assortment of others, all enjoying the beautiful December weather in Florida.

Despite being diverse and doing different activities, they all have one thing in common:

They’re relaxed and connected and able to really be in the moment.

And that is why it’s a happy place. There’s none of the usual distractions or aggravations. No one has deadlines to meet. Except for the occasional crying baby, everyone appears to be in good spirits. They’re either on vacation or retired. Even the locals are upbeat and friendly, which may be the result of a steady diet of Vitamin D.

Being in the moment is very difficult to do in our modern world. We’re constantly multi-tasking in order to get everything done. We’re so busy thinking about what’s next that we’re not in the now. Meditation and Yoga are booming with people wanting to learn how to relax. They teach us how to focus on our sensory perceptions and nothing else. We have to completely clear our minds of all the clutter and that’s not easy to do. Just ask anyone whose tried it!


Any destination can provide a restful, leisurely atmosphere. Whether it’s the beach, or the mountains, or even a metropolitan area. The only requirements are that people must be willing to pack the right attitude and leave the stress of daily living at home.









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