National Geographic : 2017 Nov
happiest places 59 Ruth Wright has felt that stress too, but in a good way, she said. On the last day we met, she arrived brandishing a newspaper with the headline “Boulder extends height limit.” Two nights earlier she’d testified at a six- hour City Council meeting to fend off developers, joining a majority of speakers who urged that a moratorium on buildings higher than 40 feet continue for at least 15 more months. The council voted eight to one for the extension. Wright had prevailed again. When I pointed out that her life didn’t seem to include much day-to-day joy, she corrected me. “For me fun is getting things done,” she said. And there, in a nutshell, was the Boulder brand of happiness: a com- munity of fit, successful, mission-driven people with a clear vision of the good life, even if they don’t completely live it yet. Pleasure, purpose, pride—the three strands of happiness. j Photographers Cory Richards and Matthieu Paley are frequent National Geographic contributors. In shooting this story, Richards said, he realized that while happiness comes and goes, contentment allows us to accept those fluc- tuations. And Paley said he was reminded that we need to make time every day to socialize with our families and friends.