Happy Place II?


I have lived in Pittsburgh for a year and a half. I still don’t have a “happy place”. However, I might have found a place where I can go and think.

When I lived in San Francisco, my first Happy Place was mesmerizing. Not only was it a place to think, but it also provoked and inspired me to ponder. The power and vastness of the Pacific Ocean spread across your entire line of vision as strong winds whirled their way up the majestic ocean dunes. And the setting sun along the western horizon is a memorable and soothing visual.

Ahhhhh… feels so good. So, why am I some what excited about an abandoned?

I’ve been searching for awhile, but have yet to find some place in Pittsburgh that offered me some kind of thinking oasis. You know? Some place that I could get to and spend some time without drastically altering my daily commute or schedule.

During a lunch, I saw a parking lot on Google Maps that overlooked the city. Although not visually spectacular, the main points were that it was isolated, free and was near my work. Worth a shot.

I drove out there during a lunch break. It was hot and I kept my car and AC running. I sat there. The parking overlooked a small baseball field, a graveyard and, in the far distance, the Pittsburgh skyline.

I wasn’t that impressed, but I stayed anyways. I sat in my car with the AC blasting. The coolness was relaxing and my mind began to wander. Allowing myself to think is soothing, creative, and relaxing. I can get lost in thought. Still, I didn’t let myself completely lose sight of my surroundings. Never been in the area so, better safe than sorry. I left after about 20 minutes.

A couple days later, I returned to the parking lot. I read a book. I glanced away from the pages, viewed the surroundings, then returned to reading.

The week after, I had an important phone call. I drove to the parking lot, had a wonderful phone conversation, then drove back to work.

In that parking lot, I’ve read, thought, reflected, journaled, diffused, and even napped (which I wouldn’t recommend for any place that you don’t know well, but I was exhausted that day with a migraine). I go to the parking lot about 2 times a week. This space has become part of a fledgling routine.

I need to process what’s going on around me. A lot of guys do. It impacts their thoughts, impacts their actions, and impacts the people around them. It’s quite powerful. We just need time to process.

Is this my second Happy Place? No. But, until I find it, I’ll keep returning to this abandoned parking lot.


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