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  • Dr. Joan Irvine

Finding Happiness in Life's Simple Pleasures

This morning I watched a segment on Sunday Morning where Nora O'Donnell discussed "happiness" with Oprah and Harvard professor Arthur Brooks. They touched upon the idea that happiness often stems from simple things and having a sense of purpose. Another segment delved into the concept of random acts of kindness. These discussions got me thinking about my own sources of happiness.

Yesterday was one of those days that filled my heart with happiness. It began with an email from a major company expressing interest in meeting with me to discuss cannabis education for seniors—my life's work and passion. What a fantastic way to start the day!

After that exciting news, I took a stroll along the picturesque Esplanade, where I had the pleasure of watching people participate in the LA Kings 5K/10K run. Along the way, I thanked the numerous volunteers who were making the event possible. It was a beautiful reminder of the joy that comes from appreciating the little things in life.

I then joined a group of dedicated individuals participating in the Keep the Esplanade Beautiful (KEB) monthly clean-up. This month was especially significant because it marked the 10th anniversary of our community service efforts. What made this day even more special for me was the fact that I founded KEB. It felt like a parent's pride, watching their child accomplish something remarkable. Our goal has always been community outreach, and this day taught me that our efforts can help people in unexpected ways. One woman who had recently lost her partner found solace in joining us, using the act of giving back to her community, connecting with others, and being in nature as a way to cope with her pain. I offered her a hug, hoping to alleviate her sorrow, even if just a little.

Next on my agenda was attending the monthly Redondo Beach District 1 City Council (CC) representative meeting. Professor Brooks mentioned that struggle contributes to happiness. Well, listening to this young CC representative demonize cannabis and equate it to a Schedule 1 drug like heroin, while tapping the inside of his elbow, was an eye-opener. Cannabis is legal in California and 38 other States. Plus ongoing research continually reveals its many health benefits. It was noticeably clear that he was pandering to fear, as he plans to run for Mayor. He also emphasized his focus on residents over businesses, but I firmly believe that the two are intricately connected, especially in smaller communities like ours. Many residents are local business owners, myself included. When he referred to another Redondo resident who is a known expert about cannabis in LA and the State and who was on the Redondo Beach Cannabis Advisory Committee, as a "so-called expert," I was totally shocked. But I shouldn’t be since once again this is his style. As he continued to spew his misinformation, it became even more evident that our community needed education from ACTUAL EXPERTS to counteract this outdated perspective of cannabis.

Back home, I received an email updating me about a large mainstream health festival scheduled for November in the desert. I'll be moderating a panel of experts discussing Cannabis and Health—a source of pure joy and happiness!

Later in the afternoon, I headed to my small haven of Riviera Village to dance to the tunes of one of my favorite entertainers, Charis & Friends. Three hours of dancing and connecting with friends who appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings and the magic of music brought even more joy and happiness. Fate had a surprise in store when I bumped into the owner of, an internet radio station with a substantial reach in the South Bay. We discussed the possibility of me hosting a show about cannabis, opening up another avenue for educating people, especially seniors, about the health benefits of cannabis.

After all the dancing, I treated myself to some frozen yogurt. I explored a few other music venues in Riviera Village, but none resonated with me. So, I returned home. After dancing for hours and still recovering from a broken ankle from earlier this year, my body was aching. I soothed my ankle with an ice pack and then ended the day with a relaxing bath infused with Epsom salt and a fragrant bubble bath.

A day filled with simple joys, music, and the company of friends—what more could one ask for? It was a day of pure happiness and my face was almost hurting from smiling so much!

As I begin this new day in addition to watching the Sunday Morning segment on happiness, I received an email notifying me that over 30 people have already signed up for my panel on Cannabis and Health at the Coachella Health festival in November.

Oprah said "life is better when shared," and I couldn't agree more. Sharing knowledge, happiness, and a smile with others is what truly makes my life worthwhile.


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