When I was a teenager, I spent a few months living in Central Florida; the parents were looking for a change in scenery. I loved it. It was one of the most free times in my life. New friends, new habits, and a new school filled with cool people, I couldn’t have been much happier. I remember, though, having this overarching desire to be happy. I recall in my English class being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up and the answer just fell out of my mouth. I wanted to be happy. Up to that point, my peers had responded with careers and life goals. I think people were a little taken aback by my statement. It was, to be honest, a little weird. My teacher liked it though!
However, that is still my ever-elusive goal. Sixteen years later, I still revisit that idea often. A wife, four kids, and a career later, I have a good deal of material and emotional happiness readily available to me. I love my family and I like my job. Yet there are things beyond what I can make for myself where I live. The job drains the energy, the desert the moisture from the skin. I wouldn’t trade my experiences out here in Nevada for much, but it’s time to move. That’s kind of the point of the book I just finished.
The Blue Zones of Happiness makes the case that some places are just happier than others and that instead of yelling at the wind, move somewhere without it. There are, of course, certain qualities that happy places have: a high sense of purpose, pride, and pleasure. Buettner, the author, makes the case that instead of taking a diet approach, and gutting through the hardship, just move. Plenty of diets fail and so do many attempts at making yourself and your surroundings happier.
The truth is, sometimes you’re not enough to fix your surroundings. When that’s the case, it’s ok to make a strategic decision to retreat and post up in a better spot. That’s the plan over here.