We Must Work To Create Our Own Joy
Going to Paris for a month was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And one of my biggest takeaways was that a walking city brings me immense joy. So much joy. I always thought I was so happy in these types of cities just because it was vacation. Surely the novelty would wear off when you’re no longer walking to museums and shopping, but instead walking to meetings, appointments and errands. I can safely say now that it wasn’t the rose-colored glasses of being on vacation. And I know this for a fact because quickly I found myself heading to the Apple store with a shattered phone and grabbing groceries every few days. I loved it. Even going to the dreaded Apple store.
I spent so much time walking around and taking it all in while in Paris.
And I just really learned that that lifestyle really makes me feel alive and happy. And sadly, it’s not something we do here in this non-walkable city I live in and call home, Atlanta. Sure there are pockets of that walkability in certain neighborhoods. But I have to actually drive TO the pockets, to then walk. I hate that. But it’s my reality right now.
Over the weekend I went to a museum with a couple of friends. It was pouring out. Miserable. I realized I didn’t have my car umbrella on me which I knew would just add to the misery. Parking by the museum was a nightmare. There was no street parking to be found. The parking decks were all $20 for some special event nearby on top of it. I was growing more and more annoyed. I literally screamed out in frustration “I HATE THIS CITY”. How does this massive city not have efficient public transportation or good parking solutions considering we are an automobile haven? I finally parked a few blocks away in a deck that was sadly also overpriced. But alas, I had a parking spot, I was united with my friend, and we were ready to do a little walking.
The moment my friend and I left the deck and were walking the few blocks to the museum, I felt alive again.
It was raining on me, my freshly blow-dried hair, and I gave ZERO FUCKS about it. I was just so happy to be WALKING. While blissfully walking in the rain, we passed by these cute little statues we’d never noticed before. This is a street by the way that we drive on regularly in Atlanta. It’s a main road and one I took to get to my old day job every single day. We never noticed these little statues until we were on the sidewalk and taking it all in slowly strolling by. Okay, we were sort of walking briskly due to the rain. But we stopped to take them in.
You notice so much when you’re not in a car and are instead on foot and able to look around and take it all in. And it’s that specific moment and experience I’m trying to recreate here in Atlanta as often as possible.
It’s not easy, though…
It’s not easy. It takes effort, unlike other walking cities that just require you to step outside your front door. So I’ve been on a mission to find this more. Spending an afternoon at a museum. Parking farther away to get even a short walk in. Making plans in those walkable neighborhoods so I can play pretend that we’re a walking city for just a few hours. It’s the little things I’m trying to do to make things feel more alive in Atlanta for me. Because I can not just sit around and hate this city. That serves me no purpose. So this is a reminder that you can create the joy in your life if you put a little effort into it. A reminder I need often.