Lately, I’ve been sauntering through life trying to figure out my next move . . . and it’s HARD. Leaving the film industry (even if temporarily) was so freeing, but I still want to take this creativity and put it towards something productive. On top of that, I need to find a
stable career that I find both fulfilling and healthy. If I cannot have time to myself to devote to stress relief, cooking, hiking, and writing (I used to work 12hr days 6 days a week), I know I won’t be happy or successful in whatever I choose. Now, that can mean a regular 9-5 or some strange freelance travel-writing position, but it can’t mean another job that requires 70+ hours of my week at something I don’t care about. That is just insane.
So here’s what I’ve been pondering in that time: “What determines happiness?”
Some may argue that one controls their own happiness with a mindset or that everyone is different and has their own means of happiness. If one attempted to control his/her own happiness with their mind, how does that incorporate people with mental illness such as depression or bipolar, whose minds actually try to do the opposite? As for the other point, sure people have certain things they are interested in that make them happy, such as golf, teaching, riding bikes, or cooking, and those are different for everyone. That’s not the question I’m asking. I’m asking, what specific types of environments make everyone feel better? Happier?
Okay, so most people like the beach, right? I’m actually not one of those people, so this is a good example . . . I think. Why do so many people like the beach? Do they like the feeling of the sand between their toes, the gentle cushions of sand underneath their blanket, running into the cool ocean after laying out in the sun, or riding the waves? Instead, do they enjoy the sounds of the crashing waves, seagulls, the radio playing, or is it just a good place to read a book?
Do they go to the beach to escape from the regular world? Does the sound of crashing waves remind them to breathe slowly, while the sun feels like a warm blanket, and the cold beer in their hand reminds them to relax? In that sense, is the beach a way to forcibly meditate, or do people just go there to admire other attractive, partially naked humans?
What about a sense of community? Many have communities at work, within their families, or friends. What if someone doesn’t have a good community to go to? What if they’re lonely or they’re constantly surrounded by people who suck their energy and make them sad? Some studies show that good relationships are the key to living a longer and more fulfilling life.
In today’s technology-obsessed world, we seek human interaction through social media, but we further isolate ourselves by hanging out in front of screens and spending more time in bed watching Netflix. I’m writing this alone on my laptop on a couch somewhere right now.
Some apps, such as Tinder and Yelp, want to change that. Recently, I attended a Yelp Elite event put together by Daniel B. After meeting him and interacting with other people who write solid reviews for Yelp (wooo go team!), I had many conversations about how these yelpers wanted to get out into the world and meet other food and entertainment lovers through this app. I found it strange that a review app would bring different, super cool people together and that they would sponsor events, helping local businesses and the community alike.
I would love to build a community around a space in the same sense. Some people just don’t have the money to meet up at a bar every weekend and book clubs require a lot of effort. Tea and coffee are cheaper, but some people aren’t into that. You can’t really “hang out” at the gym. Others just work at their jobs and go home, wasting the rest of their evening watching TV or browsing Facebook.
So, what makes everyone happy? What can bring a community together – young, old, brown, white, gay, transgender, etc – to do things that everyone likes?
Here are my ideas:
- Games (board games, pool?)
- Working out (sports, rock climbing, hiking)
- Nature (plants, large windows)
- Comfort (badass bean bags?)
- Reconnecting with the physical world (texture, installations, putty)
- Expressing yourself (painting, designing spaces)
What are your ideas? What makes you happy? What do you think everyone likes? Contribute in the comments below and if you would like to team up to help me create a layout/idea/whatever for this space, I am open to suggestions!
- Agora Media
- What Makes You Happy? on Tea and Tales
- Do More of What Makes You Happy by Ann Koplow
- 6 Things That Make Me Happy on The Average Girl
- Pursuing Happiness: Why We May Be Missing the Point by Christy B
- Make Someone Happy by Brianandlily