Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Columbia: The Happy Place

Here it comes. Another one of those Village Green/Town² weird juxtapositions. Perhaps that’s the whole point of the blog anyway: where Columbia and Howard County intersect. Isn’t that a weird juxtaposition to begin with?

On the one hand: WalletHub has yet again named Columbia as one of the happiest cities in America. It comes in at number nine. If you’re a glass half full kind of person, you’ll see this as being in the top ten, hurray! If you’re a glass half empty type you’ll certainly note that we have scored higher in previous years. It’s up to you. Take your pick. 

I read this piece from 92 Q radio and honestly my favorite part were the little reaction emojis.

Let’s get a close up of that. 

Maybe WalletHub should’ve just sent one of these to everyone in Columbia, eh? 

To be fair, they do describe their methodology for assessing communities for happiness but they don’t ever explain how Columbia gets assessed in the category of Large Cities. We’re not even incorporated, for heaven’s sake. 

As I pondered how overall happiness is kind of a mixed bag, this piece by local writer Elizabeth Brunetti caught my eye:

Note to Self : Maybe it Doesn’t Have to Be So Hard, Elizabeth Brunetti

Would you ever tell a diabetic that if they just get up at 5AM every day and journal for 20 minutes, their pancreas is sure to start producing insulin?

Would you ever tell someone with a broken leg that all they need is a better bedtime routine and 15 minutes of meditation a day for their leg to heal?

I think you know where I’m going with this.

Brunetti takes a clear-eyed and candid look at mental health challenges and how we often make it harder when we could be taking better care of ourselves. There’s clearly a stigma in our culture surrounding mental health issues and far too many folks are willing to pass judgement on using medication as a part of treatment. The end result can be that we internalize that judgement and deny ourselves useful options for getting better. 

Happiness is a mixed bag. Nobody expects to be happy every day but at the very least we’d like to live in a realm where it might be possible. Perhaps for some that’s a zip code. For others it’s the support they need to stay afloat and have the capacity to experience joy.

So, how are you feeling today?

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