My Happy Place
On a recent Tuesday ride one of our members said “my happy place is on my bike and in my garden or out in the freshly fallen snow”. That was such a nice thing to hear. So now I ask, where is my happy place? Yours?
Happy is like money: when you have it you can philosophize about its place in your life and options you have for it. However, a life without happiness (or money) is intensely grim and difficult. Happiness affects not only your outlook but your decisions, your health and relationships. Where does it come from and how do we get it. Prozac works sometimes but evidence points to other means.
Philosophers define happiness as living a good life rather than simply an emotion. And, now there is scientific evidence that suggest happiness actually is rather stable over time and not some fleeting emotion. It is genetically based. From twin studies it has been determined that 50% of a given humans happiness level is genetically determined, 10% affected by life circumstances and 40% subject to self control. When circumstances change as they do with time and you make a plethora of life decisions it seems your happiness can be effected or change.
However, if we can control 40 - 50% it is worth pursuing! Thomas Jefferson knew how important happiness is to a nation's well being and productivity when in 1776 he penned into the Declaration of Independence the universal right “to the pursuit of happiness”. Now we know, and there is solid science - that feeling happy and optimistic reduces your risk of heart attacks and strokes, it improves one's resilience in managing cancer and has a protective impact on immunity. Happiness is undeniably worth pursuing - especially as we age!
So here is the recipe (components of an optimistic/happy life), as published by Martin Seligman, PhD in his 2011 book Flourish:
Pleasure (tasty food, warm bath, etc.)
Engagement (an enjoyed yet challenging activity)
Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger than self)
A happy place must be the place you can savor your happiness. I hope we all find happiness and our happy place. I hope most of us can find it on our bikes!
Spotlight on Wheelmen
Gary Schalesky - will be giving his speedy legs a rest and taking his wife, Darlene, on vacation to Washington DC. Gary, please convince the nice folks of the Trump administration to ride their bikes to work as this would likely improve their behavior!
Dan Coats - has been cycling for about 9 months, he has passed the 5,000 mile mark and rides almost every day - rain or shine! He is an inspiration.
Steve Nielsen - will be absent from California Cycling for 5 months while he builds a home in Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, WA. Check out his facebook page to see some of the rides he is doing there. Then hope he invites us all to his house warming party!
Ted Palfini - loyal Wheelmen, but rarely seen, finished the Red Hawk century and is training for the Davis Double. He has 5 pairs of cycling shoes - just sayin!
Beware of the Wheelmen Spotlight - it may be on YOU!