Places to Go

The places we go have huge implications for our wellbeing.  Some places are likely to cause conflict; others, harmony.  And one step into the wrong place can lead to fifty more into despair.  Similarly, one step in the right place, can lead to fifty more into happiness.  We make the choice.

So, with that said, here are ten places I recommend we go, followed by several we should consider avoiding.  First, here are my favorite hangouts:

Swimming pools.  Not only is swimming a terrific exercise, but the lifeguards are willing to provide free swimming advice, especially if we’re on the waiting list for private swim lessons.  It’s a great way to learn a skill for $10 a day.  In two months, a person can go from water wings to the front crawl and flip turns.

High school sports fields.  Fields are great places to do calisthenics and aerobics in the sunshine.  We can time ourselves for forty-five minutes, doing two running laps around the field followed by push-ups, sit-ups, planks, and any other predetermined exercises.  And then repeat.  Complete the endorphin rush with a picnic in the park for maximum pleasure.    

Bookstore or Library.  Bookstores and libraries are a great way to entertain ourselves while learning a skill or reading for leisure.  And they’re free.  They’re the cheapest ways to take someone on a date, too, if lifelong learning is a mutual value.

University campus.  We can enjoy the best of both worlds: AU for academics and a physical university for leisure, if one is nearby.  Universities have wonderful libraries, recreation centers, and food courts.  The grounds are beautiful, and we can sign up for a class or enroll our kids in a camp.

Church, Temple, or Mosque.  Churches and mosques have more in common than one might think, as Christianity and Islamic faith have a lot of crossovers.  And at a Sikh temple, we’ll receive a free meal and a warm welcome.  That’s because our Sikh friends are happy accommodating guests of all cultural backgrounds.

Graveyard.  Some of us may not like graveyards.  But when we visit a cemetery, we can sit on the bench, feel the sunshine, and enjoy wilderness surroundings with hardly any people but lots of friendly animals.  The modern tombstones can look exquisite, too, and some have breathtaking poems, pictures of the deceased, and spiritual statues.  Best of all, most everyone at the cemetery is happy to engage in a spiritual discussion on the afterlife.

Those are places I love to visit.  Now, here are places I recommend we never go:

Casinos.  Casinos are breeding houses for addictions, drunkenness, fistfights, sexual overtures, chronic gambling, relationship conflicts, prostitution, and other ills.  Casinos are not environments that yield the most positive outcomes and can make us susceptible to the darker side.

Pubs, bars, and nightclubs.  Frightening events can happen at these venues, such as knife fights or fist fights, being hit on by ex-cons or shady characters, alcohol overdose, drug abuse, and one-night stands.  And one negative event often culminates in another.  And relationships born in these venues bring these vices with them.

The places we go have implications for our wellbeing.  A venue can wind us down the wrong path or take us to positive, healthy heights.  But the best route to a happy life is to adopt the big three: academics, athletics, and wisdom.

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