For When Your Happy Place Doesn’t Cut it

When I was miserable and 19, trudging through -9 degree Wisconsin weather on my way to class, I would picture the setting sun above the water in Woods Hole. It has always, without fail, made me feel better.

I currently live in my happy place, the place I’ve closed my eyes to envision on hairy airplane rides, before terrifying high school performances, after rocky break ups. I am insanely lucky to live here, and often have to pinch myself.

There is one tricky thing about living in your happy place: if you’re sad, you feel 100 times sadder, because your happy place isn’t cutting it. And that comes with frustration (snap out of it!), guilt and shame (I‘m so lucky, why can’t I just appreciate this?) and worry (if my happy place isn’t making me happy, then what’s wrong with me?)

woho sunset 1

And then I started to wonder: If, in the middle of your sadness, you were actually always beamed to the happy place you envision, would your sadness immediately be lifted? Ideally yes, right? But I imagine it wouldn’t always fix everything. Your spirit might be lifted, but you could still feel that pull from under you. And that’s okay. Regardless of where you are and how breathtakingly beautiful or fun or peaceful or wildly fantastic it is, there’s no point in making yourself feel worse about your mood by feeling guilty that you’re not soaking up every moment. There are so many articles out there about how to feel happier, but not enough about how to own feeling down in the dumps.

Anyway, this revelation has seriously helped me, so I thought I’d share. Hope everyone’s off to a good week!

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