Editors Note Summer 2019

by Kelly Godbey

I remind myself every day just how wonderful and valuable life is. Consistently, I tell people, “Life is good, even when it isn’t.” For me, 2019 has been full of challenges, but I still find joy and happiness in my favorite things, like spending time with family and friends and vacationing to exciting places, or by helping others. I love going to the beach, breathing in the salt air, and watching the sunrise or sunset while hearing the continual roll of waves.

What is the key to happiness? Robert Waldinger, Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, said in a 2015 Ted Talk, “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.” Over 27 million people have watched this Ted Talk for keys to happiness. For almost 80 years (the longest running study on happiness), Harvard studied 724 men throughout their lives to determine what made them happy and healthy. They chose the men from two groups, all roughly the same ages; one group was comprised of Harvard sophomores, and the other group came from some of the poorest neighborhoods in Boston. They found that some of the poorest men were among the happiest, and some of the more wealthy were not. While I do find this study to be fundamentally flawed due to lack of women (wives were added in the last decade), I do agree with the conclusion that good relationships keep us happier.

Unfortunately, in the United States, the happiness factor has been declining. The 2019 World Happiness Report shows the United States is now the 19th happiest country in the world, down from 12th happiest is 2015 based on GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support, freedom to make choices, generosity of people around you, and perceived corruption levels. The U.S. life expectancy has also declined for three straight years. The top five happiest countries in the world are 1) Finland, 2) Denmark, 3) Norway, 4) Iceland, and 5) the Netherlands. We are often encouraged to “lean in,” work more, and be more productive; however, the people who fare the best actually “lean in” to relationships as good relationships keep us happier and physically healthier. 

It’s never too late to start. My advice to live a healthier, happier life in retirement is to remove the conflict from your life. Remove yourself from the traffic, congestion, and long hours commuting; your new life awaits in one of Ideal-LIVING’s 2019 Best of the Best Planned Communities. Each year, we choose planned developments that create an environment to live your ideal life through rich social interactions and healthy lifestyles. Remove yourself from high tax areas, and find your ideal destination in tax-friendly states that also have great weather. We want to help you to spread joy and happiness in the world by finding that new lifestyle that allows you to explore new adventures and make new, lasting relationships.

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