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Happy Place

I woke up this morning in my happy place. It’s my happy place mostly because of the memories I’ve made here. When I was a little girl we got to spend one week every summer here with my family and my cousins. Those summers were magical. We turned the green open space into a baseball field. The tire swing soared us into the sky as we launched off onto the beach trying to see who could land the farthest. At night there was no tv and no electronics so we would gather chairs from each of the cabins, crowd around the table and play games. Popcorn was often popped on the stove or over the fire. The screen doors squeaked. The beds were lumpy and the floors tilted. The showers were cold but they had to be quick to not overfill the septic anyway. If it was sunny there was the beach. If it rained, there was the endless game of monopoly. As we got older we brought our spouses and our kids here and the memories continued. Some things changed. Instead of renting a cabin for a week, we bought the land. For years we crowded into a little camper, cooking our meals on the fire, keeping our food in the cooler and showering under the hose out back. Slowly we began to build. Painting without electricity. Using the outhouse at the boat launch. Slowly we are building it into a home. I’ll never be able to thank my husband enough for making this dream a reality and buying me the most expensive tire swing on earth.

It’s a lot more work that when it was our one week vacation spot, but it’s still a happy place. The thing that makes it happy is that everything slows down. There’s a sense of freedom and peace. We spend time with family. We make do with what we have. We don’t expect everything to be perfect. In the morning the sun rises over the lake and at night the fire crackles and the stars shine. Staying at home here is heaven.

There’s so much that is tough about the current COVID situation. Many people are working really hard to lead, to take care of us when we are sick, to keep our store shelves stocked and to teach our kids. The best way to thank these people is for us to stay home right now and not complain and do our best to make our homes a happy place. Here’s some rules I’ve learned about happy places.

  1. Boredom is ok. It’s where the creativity ideas are born. That’s where dance parties, skits, and art projects blossom.

  2. Family time is about working together and playing together. To find the magical sweet spot you have to unplug and connect. Popcorn and games are a bonus.

  3. Take a picture. When you look back at the photos year after year, you’ll remember what you did, who you were, and the fun you had.

  4. Enjoy each day. Happy places aren’t born, they are made. It takes a willing spirit and an appreciation for what you have.

  5. Make do. Some of my happiest times in my life were when I didn’t have everything I wanted but I had everything I needed.

  6. Many hands make light work. This one is a bit tough sometimes. No one likes to do work, but when everyone pitches in and helps cook and clean up, it makes it much more fun.

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