In 2012, AARP released a study titled “Beyond Happiness: Thriving,” which explored what happiness means to adults and what it takes to thrive as they age. AARP surveyed more than 4,000 Americans ages 35-80, including African Americans/blacks. Regardless of age, relationships were found to be universally important and key drivers of happiness.
My wife and I took a nature walk on the southern slope of the Santa Monica Mountains shortly after a brush fire had ravaged the earth and turned the blackened branches of the laurel sumac trees into hands that clawed at the darkening sky. It was a scene right out of Dante's Inferno, tempered by the life that lay on the other side of the hill.
There is a sweetness to the distance that intersects with time and necessity to call one to the open road. It comes from beyond the mountains and the far side of the widest rivers, just a whisper at first and then a summons that mimics the lure of the fictional island of World War II's Bali Hai that called the sailors to "Come to me, come to me ..."
There is a place beyond imagination and beyond the rattle of the inner city, beyond the housing tracts of suburbia and even beyond the relatively distant semi-wilderness in areas around Los Angeles known informally as exurbia. We call that settlement of heavenly dreams Nowherebia.
These are the gentle years, beyond the rages of youth and the desperation of middle age, seasons of summer warmth, and skies so intensely blue that it hurts the eyes to gaze upon them. Only God and the artist Magritte could paint such skies and implant such peace on a softening day in July.
A shiny new pair of shoes, a hot cross bun, hiding colorful eggs, the big furry white bunny, the resurrection, a basket full of candy....What does Easter mean to you? Obviously, as we pass through different phases of life it means different things. As I am now 51 years old, which means I have completed several life phases, it is none of the above. It is more than something that is tangible. It is hope.
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