Finding Happiness on Siesta Key

Happy Days

Goals? What Goals?

Sometime in the mid-1990’s I bought a book called, Living Without A Goal. I thought this book would have the answers to my dilemma: Did I have a life goal? How do I get a goal? Did a need a goal?

I guess my goal should have been to read the book. After looking at it on my bookshelf for about 10 years, the constant reminder was too much for me. I gave it away without reading it.

I have daily goals. But those are really a list of accomplishments that I make happen. These are work goals and goals to better myself.  One of my daily goals is to treat people kindly and with respect.

I also have unrealistic goals such as winning the lottery or being able to fit into a “real” size 6.

It’s so pathetic that two years ago my New Year’s Resolution was to “recycle more”. To which I must admit, I have accomplished fabulously.

What? Now I have to have a “Happy Place”?

I’m in the same predicament about “My Happy Place”. I was at a work function a couple of weeks ago and we had a great speaker. He was really a top-notch guy and was teaching us relaxation techniques. I’m a workaholic so relaxation is really important to me.

The speaker said his happy place was a beach in Maui that he had been to before. When he gets stressed, he takes a moment and he goes there.

At the end of session he told us all to close our eyes, take two deep breaths and go to our “Happy Place”.

Hmmm. I opened my eyes slightly and looked around. Everyone appeared to be in some distant happy place. Except for me. Where did I want to go? Where did I think I could find the most happiness?

By the end of the meeting I felt like such a loser. First – self-admittedly I have no apparent “life” goals. Now I realize I don’t even have a special “happy place”.  It really upset me for days. DAYS. And I was embarrassed to tell anyone.

Finding My Happy Place

My husband always teases me whenever I tell him “I’m so happy”. When we go somewhere I like, I’m happy. When I eat something I like, I’m happy. When I run into a friend I haven’t seen in ages, I’m happy.

Siesta Key

When I’m on Siesta Key, happiness abounds and never I want to leave. I find great joy in standing at the window of my condo and looking for dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico. Walking on the beach looking for shells immediately clears my mind.

It makes me happy to get on my paddle board and look for manatees or to give a child a paddle boarding lesson. I’m even content to sit in traffic so I can listen to NPR.

And yes, it makes me especially happy on Monday and Friday mornings when I get to put out my recycling.

This week I flew to Arizona to meet my husband at the home we are selling in Arizona. I didn’t want to leave Siesta Key because I was happy where I was – I didn’t feel the need to travel. It was really sad to leave and I got a little stressed. But then I reminded myself: You can’t come back if you don’t leave.

When my plane landed in Arizona, I was so excited to see my husband and be in Arizona. I had forgotten the beauty I find in the desert mountains and landscape. What a contrast from Siesta Key!

I was happy to walk through my home and to sit in the yard and watch the beautiful sunsets. I was at peace yesterday when I took an early morning trail run.

Due to the time change, I’ve been waking up at 4:00 a.m. After finishing up work today, the guilt set in and I decided to help my husband weed the back yard. I put on long rubber garden gloves to protect myself from the cactus thorns and headed outside. I wasn’t looking forward to this task.

But as I pulled weeds I got into a rhythm that was really peaceful. I found a broken quail egg and looked for mama’s nest. I didn’t find that, but I found a tiny hummingbird nest that had been partially destroyed. Looking around, I saw a tiny little humming bird drinking nectar from a flowering plant and decided that this was a surviving baby from that nest. This really gave me joy.


I don’t have to dream about a place where I would rather be in order to find happiness. My HAPPY PLACE is wherever I choose it to be.

Some days nothing goes right and the stress is overwhelming. I was sick most of 2016, first with melanoma then with Bell’s Palsy caused from shingles. But looking back on 2016, I remember the good parts of last year. I remember the times I got to see my nieces and nephews. I remember when a manatee swam directly under my paddle board. I remember beating my mom at three games of cribbage in a row.

Starting today, I have a LIFE GOAL: To find joy wherever I am.

When I’m stressed or overwhelmed or just plain cranky, I’m going to go to my happy place. And that place will be exactly where I am. I’m going to take two deep breaths, open my eyes and look for the good in the moment. I don’t need to look for someplace else to make me happy.

If I’m not happy, it’s my doing. Just like when my husband I and wanted to permanently relocate from Arizona to Siesta Key, we made it happen – because it made us happier to return to the place I where I spent so many years growing up.

My vintage pink flamingo makes me happy!

I chose Siesta Key for a reason – because this is the place that makes me most happy in life.

Sure, there are some days I never want to repeat. But on Siesta Key I can walk out my door, walk on the beach and allow the crystal sand and soothing gulf water to rejuvenate me.


If you want to find your “happier” place on Siesta Key, or anywhere in Sarasota County, I hope you’ll call me. We can explore your happy places together.

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Call my cellphone:  941-587-2289

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Michael Saunders & Company | 5100 Ocean Boulevard | Sarasota, Florida 34242 | 941.349.3444