The Happiest Place

Photo by Jayme McColgan

The happiest place on earth. That’s a lot of pressure. A place that you arrive to and are then forced to think, “this is the best that there is.” As you mill around in the line again it hits you, “It’s all downhill from here”. Later as you exit a creative ride with catchy music playing in the background, it dawns on you again, “I will never be as happy as this again.” After the fireworks show, the smell of Carmel corn in the air, you slowly meander out through the pleasantly lit streets. As you pass through the wrought iron gate, it hits you- everywhere is now a place of less happiness, of greater sadness and disappointment. “Is that it? Is that all?” You find yourself wondering. 

Vacations, recreation, and fun are, of course a great thing. They can snap the ordinary routine, invite us to think in new and exciting ways, and of course give us a respite from the daily grind. There are times when the festivities, the ceremony, and the hype is warranted and even helpful. Times when everyone wants to be carried on the notes coming from the stage, to drift along a glassy river, to pick things solely for pleasure and enjoyment, without any ulterior motive. Yet with happiness and satisfaction dictated as the delta between expectations and reality, promising to be the top, the ultimate experience appears dicey at best. 

Happiness makes a poor goal, a terrible target. Aim for happiness and you are sure to end up with empty hands. Perhaps the only way to actually guarantee unhappiness is to only pursue your own happiness and momentary pleasure every moment of every day. Aim for happiness and you will miss meaning and happiness. Yet if one selects meaning, that is endeavors to fill one’s time with things that elevate the status and standing of themselves and those around them, happiness, true happiness is the natural by-product. 

Perhaps the happiest place on earth is not the place where entertainment and sweet confections abound, but rather where good people work together on interesting problems. Perhaps one doesn’t need to travel long distances, purchase costly tickets, or wait in long lines to find an even happier place. Perhaps the happiest place can be a transformation of precisely where they are at this very moment. 

Make this place the happiest place on earth. 

Published by JR Stanley

I am an MD, PhD student, training to be a physician scientist, with a deep interest in science, faith, and living life as an adventure. Join me as I entertain ideas from new findings in science, evolving interpretations of faith, and experience life one day and one adventure at a time.

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