Disneyland! The happiest place on earth!!!!
I recently visited Disneyland. I was able to enjoy the warm California weather, the beautiful scenery, the thrilling rides, the enchantment of the most famous theme park on earth, and the company of good friends. It was a great! Happiest place on earth, right? So why did I often not feel happy? Certainly I had a good time and was entertained but I wouldn't call that happiness. All external factors seemed to be pushing the dial to happy though. What was missing?
Was it the fact that Disneyland was hot, littered with people, charged extortionary food prices, and was encumbered with atrociously long lines for attractions? Yeah I guess that certainly didn't help. Standing in line for hours on end and paying a 500% markup on water certainly didn't add to my enjoyment. Would have I been happier in better weather, cheaper prices, shorter lines, and a hover-bed equipped with all you can eat food and a massouse? I don't know but I highly doubt it.
So is Disneyland really the happiest place on earth? The obvious answer is no. That would be preposterous. But is there a place that is happier? Could it be a sacred places of worship, or individual homes, places in nature, work? I guess it really depends on the individual. The happiest place on earth is...well unique to everyone.
For me that place is not Disneyland. For some it may be. The happiest place on earth for me is the place where I know I am actively progressing in life and serving those I love. These places have been at home, the temple, on my bicycle, on the top of a mountain, at the beach, and other places. But yet these places have also been where I have felt some of the deepest pain and sorrow. So it begs the question if a physical location can be the happiest place on earth for an individual. Again...I don't think so. I believe happiness comes from within, not from a coordinate.
But yet I saw so many happy people at Disneyland. Surely there is something to a place to affects happiness. Do external factors have some control on our happiness? I don't believe that happiness could be as simple as choosing to be happy. It can't be as easy as flipping on a light switch. If that was the case then my life lately looks like a light switch rave party. Why in the world would I be choosing that? And I am sure if you randomly put 100 people in Disneyland for a day and another 100 random people in the middle of a desert sand storm for a day and asked both groups how happy they were you would get different results. Since our external surroundings do affect our happiness, does that truly undermine the idea that happiness is a choice?
To a certain extent, our external surroundings (places we are, people we are with, and things we are doing) are determined by the choices we make in life. So if we are making choices that put us in "happier" places, then yes we are choosing to be happy. And our situations and the places where we are can make the choice to be happy an easier choice to make. It's easy to choose to be happy when you are at the beach with people you love but not so easy if you are stuck in a sewer tunnel with a guy a little too excited about eating you. Some situations make happiness almost a given. As if it is not even a choice. Happiness only seems to need to be a choice when you're not happy. No one ever tells you that happiness is a choice when you're already happy. That is what happy people tell to unhappy people.
I do think happiness is a choice. Happiness is the result of the choices we make in how we live our life and the simple choice to be happy. Those choices, for whatever reason, are easier for some to make than for others. I feel for those who struggle with depression because I know for them it definitely doesn't feel like a choice. It feels as if happiness will never come. I don't pretend to know what depression is truly like but I have definitely had my fair share of moments when it felt like the sun wouldn't shine again. When the simple phrase, "choose to be happy" just felt like a slap in the face.
It's obvious no physical location is the happiest place on earth. I guess I will just work on being in places where I can make that place be the happiest place on earth for me at that moment. Or something like that...