Finding Happy Places

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It’s a trite phrase these days  -” Happy Place” – and you see it used for all sorts of promotions. Half the time the writer is trying to push a product, rather than feature an actual location. They might even be misapplying it: ” I go to my happy place when some disaster befalls my enemies.”. That’s not happy – that’s mean. Good mean, but unhappy nevertheless.

I would rather use the term “Happy Place” literally – a location that produces happiness – in myself firstly, and perhaps by extension, in you.

Some areas abound in Happy Places. I should imagine Ansel Adams found many of these in Yosemite National Park, and, if they could get past the rest of the campers, people might emulate him now. I find mine in cities rather than the wilds.

Melbourne is a case in point. I have never been unhappy there, and have had spikes of pleasure in several places; the Exhibition Building, Taco Bill’s, Hylands Bookstore, the NGV. Young and Jackson’s lounge bar in the middle of a warm summer afternoon with a pint and a book is particularly happy.

Sydney provides the Art Gallery, Kinokuniya, Strand Arcade, and Sheriff’s Mini-Cars. I cannot be sad in any of these places, even if I try.

Oddly enough, finding Happy Places here in my home town hasn’t been a pre-occupation in the past. I have taken the place for granted for the 50 years I have lived here – now that I will have more time to explore the city and suburbs I hope to find genuine spots. I can think of 3 readily – Mainly Books, the 399 Bar, and the Brisbane Hotel. More will undoubtedly occur – and if I am lucky I will find the ones that do not extract large amounts of money to visit. It is a search that promises to be exciting.

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