Merriam-Webster defines “wonderland” as:
a place that is filled with things that are beautiful, impressive, or surprising
1: an imaginary place of delicate beauty or magical charm
2: a place that excites admiration or wonder
Let us assume, for a moment, that we choose to believe that such a place is, in fact, NOT imaginary. That leaves us with a place that instills one with wonder and/or is filled with things and experiences that fill one with wonder or admiration. I think we could exchange the word “wonder” for “happiness” and arrive at pretty much the same place.
My personal definition of wonderland, or my own Wonderland, capital W, simply expands on that. For me, Wonderland is a state of being in which one finds themselves happy, filled with wonder and excitement for life.
For me, Wonderland is a place beyond simply being content in life, although, arguably, that should be something one strives for first. I think being happy with what we have is the first real step towards Wonderland. Wonderland is being happy in life, but also reaching a place where your general day-to-day is fulfilling and brings you actual joy. You can, and should, choose to be happy in any job or situation, but it’s often quite difficult. Wonderland is the step beyond that in which your job and life situations bring you joy without you having to make a conscious effort. That can be attained either by choosing happiness to the point that you don’t even realize you’re doing it anymore, or by altering your life’s situations until they are exactly what you want.
I think Wonderland is a cross between the two. You could have the most perfect life imaginable by your own definitions, and it still wouldn’t make you happy unless you choose to be. You have to choose to overlook human shortcomings, mistakes, mundane processes, and the everyday slights we suffer that simply can’t be avoided. That said, it’s possible to have been dealt what most would see as being the worst hand life could give you, and still choose to be happy and positive about it. Wonderland is choosing happiness while working towards and obtaining better situations for yourself.
Since the focus of this space is to document my endeavors to reach my own interpretation of a modern day Wonderland, I wanted to define exactly what it is that I’m searching for. I made up a list of things that I’m searching for:
- A job that both fulfills me as an individual and adds value to the world around me. This would be a position in which I can really use my creative talents for the betterment of the world in some way, be it on an individual basis or something larger.
- The ability to care for my loved ones, especially through difficult times. I mean this both financially and emotionally.
- Freedom in my daily schedule to spend time with family and manage the needs of those I care for. This means having a job that awards me a lot of freedom with my time.
- A home and working environment that is free (relatively) of stress and creates a sense of happiness and calm. Life is too short to live in a home filled with clutter and constantly in a state of disarray, or to be working within a set of grey, featureless cube walls. It’s also too short to get caught up in meaningless arguments or bent out of shape about things completely outside of our control.
- Fun. Life should be fun. Every single moment of life can’t be fun, but we should be able to find time as often as possible to simply “be” and enjoy whatever we’re doing.
- The ability to travel often and to far reaching places. This is a huge, amazing world we live in. I want to see as much of it as I can.
- Physical health. Certain things come our way, physically speaking, that are simply out of our control. I don’t mean avoiding ever having another cold or finding a way to be immune from all disease (although that would be amazing and something I would wish for everyone.) But I want to take better care of myself. I want to lose weight, exercise more often, and eat wholesome, real foods that are nourishing to my body, mind, and soul. If we could make those taste more like cupcakes and less like vegetables, all the better.
- Surrounding myself with wonderful people whom I love, and who inspire me on a daily basis. Being around negative people all the time brings me down, too. I’ve been so fortunate in getting to befriend and know some of the most loving, kind, and inspiring people, though. It’s documented that who you spend the majority of your time around can dictate so much of the emotional state you find yourself in each day. It also starts to shape who you are. You tend to emulate those you spend the most time with. I want to be around positive, uplifting, creative individuals.
I’m sure that list will change and grow as I do, but it’s a pretty good jumping off point. Some of these things are big life moves, and some of them are really more a matter of altering my way of thinking about things and myself. I think both are important.
So what does your Wonderland look like? How would you define it? And do you think Wonderland is more a mental state of being? Or is it purely defined by your environment? Or are you like me, and think it lays somewhere between the two?