One month into a Trump presidency and the world appears to be jacked. I’d say we were completely fucked, but my editors don’t like it when I swear in the first sentence of my articles. If you have eyes or ears, I’m pretty sure our current calamity is not news to you. Trump is all that’s on the news, and he creeps into every corner of the internet like the trolliest of trolls. Trump is even trying to plant himself in this very story, but I am not going to let it happen. I’m going to my happy place.
I believe it was one of my therapists, or perhaps the movie Happy Gilmore, that first taught me the concept of a happy place. When we experience traumatic events, it can be helpful to imagine ourselves in another place to protect us from further emotional and mental damage. I was taught to populate that place with fond memories and things that made me happy to counteract the effects of a traumatic event.
My happy place is not fixed in time and continues to evolve along with my life experiences. When I was younger it was mostly video games and candy. As a teen, it was pretty much the same but with a lot more boobs and weed in it. In my 20s, booze found its way into the mix along with the magical ability to not throw up from over-drinking. Now that I’m in my 30s, things have changed again. My life has taken on some semblance of focus and my happy place has followed suit.
The most important part of my current happy place are the people there with me. In real life, my happy place is at home with my girlfriend and our cats. That means they are always front and center in my imaginary happy place as well. They are followed by my immediate family and close friends so that I am surrounded by all of the people (and cats) I love.
In my happy place, we are having a party. The location of the party varies, but it usually boils down to one of three options: somewhere tropical, a redwood forest or the rainforest. I’ve always been happiest when surrounded by trees in a fresh, calm, clean environment, away from the noise and funk of the city. In these places I can avoid the things that stress me out and leave room for the things that give me joy.
There is food and drank galore in my happy place and it’s the good stuff. I’m talking spaghetti and meatballs, pizzas, carnitas-stuffed chile rellenos, pad Thai, smoked prime rib and seared barbecue albacore tuna from Mikuni with both sauces. There is a cheese plate and a charcuterie tray of aged meats. There are rosemary-lemon gin fizz fountains and beers from my favorite craft brewers. Barrels of bourbon and rye are stacked at the ready along with casks of my favorite red wines. The tables are large enough to seat us all comfortably and are beautifully set with dishes that no one will ever have to wash or put away.
While we stuff our bellies with food and drink and our voices with old stories and laughter, our ears are soothed by the sounds of my favorite music. The mix is heavy with hip-hop, funk, soul, jazz and classic rock and it’s all being played from an immaculate, self-organizing record collection. My DJ skills are naturally much better in my happy place, and I never miss the beat.
Likewise, my fingers never stumble on the guitar and I can plug into any amp I can think of with any effects pedal I want. I can play drums as loud as possible with no repercussions and my bass lines always sit in the pocket. My recordings are pristine and loved by millions of people who buy my albums without requiring me to promote myself through constant, grueling touring. Thanks to them, I never have to worry about money in my happy place either.
What’s not there is drama. You aren’t going to find any depressing shit or problems that need to be fixed. There won’t be any files from work, bills that need to be paid or emails that still need to be answered. I don’t have to shop for groceries or fold laundry there and, best of all, no one is talking about Donald Trump! Relying on a happy place may seem silly, but I’m happy to report that it works. All you have to do is close your eyes and go.