For as long as I can remember, I have always had a happy place. I actually use to refer to it as “the place I am the most happiest” before the term Happy Place became household.
I’m a born and bred Brooklynite but spent a majority of my childhood and preteens visiting with my grandfather in the lower east side of Manhattan better known as LES. He actually introduced me to the Williamsburg Bridge and LES which forever has had me torn between both boroughs. I have loved and loathed both boroughs at any appointed time in my life but they hold special memories like no other place in this world.
I can still vividly remember holding my grandfathers’ hand as he walked us across the bridge for the first time while my older siblings ran ahead being silly. I remember feeling so special, like he was sharing a secret with me. At that time, the boroughs were more separate to me than the East River that divided them. My grandfather might have seen it as an easy day trip but to me it was a doorway into a new and exciting world. Those trips continued more regularly after my grandfather transplanted himself in the borough.
As I got older, the visits with my grandfather became more one on one. My siblings were teens and in their own world. He and I learned early that we shared a common love for peace and water. So on nice weather days we would walk around the neighborhood and then end up at “our” spot. It was an old bench on the East River Park under the Williamsburg Bridge. He and I would just sit there staring out over the water and beyond. We rarely went into conversation which is a rarity if you know me. We would just sit there and enjoy the peace, listening to the water hit against the boulders on the bridge, cars and trains passing overhead and the usual jogger.
I grew to cherish and look forward to those moments with my grandfather. I would refer to them as Saturdays with Grandpa, years after his death. Even though, I did not get to see him as often as I would have liked. My best Saturdays were always with him and my mind chose to only remember Saturdays with him.
I was not able to return to our spot for a long time physically but in moments of strife, homesick or anger I would travel back in my mind. It is then that I realized my “happy place” was a simple old bench by the East River under a noisy bridge. My Happy Place has helped me so much and kept precious memories alive. I have also been able in recent years to make new memories at my “happy place” with family and friends. It is no longer a place of solitude unless I need it to be but more of life, energy and happiness.
What is your Happy Place?