I hope everyone is enjoying a relaxing holiday season that hopefully includes some time off work. And if you are at your office this week, I hope you are wearing jeans and keeping your Internet browser busy. I won’t judge you if you didn’t even shower.
I’m back in Dallas, but have spent most of my break so far in Ohio visiting JB’s family. Ohio happens to be home to the latest infraction in college football, so there was much discussion (some calm, some not) during our trip about what exactly goes through the minds of these players (and coaches and parents and boosters and…) that gets them in so much trouble when they otherwise have so much to gain. I found myself getting downright angry about all of it and my feelings were snowballing — I couldn’t even get through a simple episode of “Two and a Half Men” with the family without espousing on the injustice of Charlie Sheen making millions despite his off-camera alleged criminal activity.
My plan was to channel these feelings into my next blog post because after all, I can’t think of an entity that needs balance restoration more than the college athletics system, but as I listened to myself rant and rave, I wondered why anyone would want to hear, much less read, this negativity.
So I as I sat here thinking about a happier topic, I looked around and realized I was in it — my Happy Place! I think everyone should have a happy place that you can go to physically and, if nothing else, mentally. We need surroundings that restore our sense of calm and equilibrium. We all have different needs in this area, but I want to share a little about my own, Cafe Brazil.
It’s just a local chain of restaurants in Dallas, nothing fancy — a coffee house, but so much more. Let me share a little bit of what my senses are experiencing right now to get me to this feeling of peace and happiness:
Sight: I’m at a location that mixes North Dallas hipsters (um yes, there are some!) with families with professionals. People eating alone, people at a table of 10. A woman is working on her laptop, a man is reading some papers, and others are just chatting. You can make this place whatever you need it to be. I like coming with friends or alone, like today, to read and write.
Taste: Oh, the taste! Like I said, it’s definitely more than a coffee house. The food here ranges from breakfast to dinner, from pancakes to crepes to salads. Since I basically ate cookies and pasta for five days straight in Ohio, I opted for one of their healthy options today, the Wine Country Salad — a delicious mix of greens, apples, strawberries, grilled chicken, and walnuts. My picture below doesn’t do it justice.
Smell: It’s more than a coffee house, but my favorite thing about Cafe Brazil remains the coffee and it’s aroma fills the air. They have a self-serve, bottomless coffee bar with different flavors of java, including my flavor of choice below. I love being able to just get up and refill my mug; it’s that comforting feeling of being at home (with no clean-up required).
Sound: Today the music has been mostly 80’s rock, including some “Sweet Child of Mine.” Enough said.
Touch: Well, if my hand touches something in the restroom here, I don’t freak out. That’s pretty much a bare minimum for a happy place.
The Intangibles: The biggest reason that Cafe Brazil is my happy place is just the vibe I feel when I’m here. I feel like I’m in Austin. I feel independent and empowered as I sit and eat and write by myself — yet being surrounded by others doing the same. I feel balanced.
I’m not anti-corporate by any means. I can, and do, all of these things at Starbucks too (well, except the bottomless coffee — yeah right!). But for me, Cafe Brazil is all I need. In 2011, I am committing myself to spending more time in my happy place. I mean, as long as they don’t start airing college sports, why wouldn’t I?
So… what is your happy place? What makes it so happy for you?