“You can take me anywhere you want to take me. But get me out of Atlanta.”
I can’t recall a time my amenable husband, Herb, dug in so much. But he was adamant that after his retirement – an end to a 34-year career as a Delta pilot based in Atlanta – we would live in a different place.
Turns out our move to the Gulf Coast still contributes a ‘wow’ to our Post50 lifestyle. But finding our geography of place wasn’t easy and Herb’s lead time of ten years was a boon since the scouting and winnowing of places took a whopping 71/2.
Was Atlanta a bad place for us? Definitely not.
But are we truly happier where we live now than if we had stayed? Unquestionably, yes.
Choosing a spouse and choosing a career are important life decisions—but even more predictive of our all-round personal happiness is our choice of living location, argues Richard Florida, author of Who’s My City: How the Creative Economy is Making Were You Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life.
At this turning point in life, a growing number of us have the opportunity to choose a place that truly fits our needs.
‘Geography of Place’ -the place you choose to live as you begin your third act of life – is a high-stakes decision and most of us are not prepared to make the right choice.
Where in the world do we begin to pick a place good for a possible second career that affords us a fulfilling and vibrant life?
Ask most people how they got to the place they live now, they’ll say they just ended up there.
How did you end up where you are anyway?
Intersection of Geography and Happiness
In his captivating best-seller Stumbling on Happiness, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert writes that “most of us make at least three important decisions in our lives: where to live, what to do and with whom to do it.”
But Gilbert’s book mostly focuses on the “what” and the “who.”
That happiness researchers like Gilbert mainly ignored the “where” inspired Richard Florida’s partnering with Gallup to conduct a major US study that shows the overwhelming importance of place to happiness. (There is also a related European version conducted by Robert Manchin of Gallup Europe.)
The research confirms that “Place” forms the third leg in the triangle of wellbeing, alongside of personal relationships and our work. (more…)