What Makes Duluth A Happy City?

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Taken with an iPhone 5 by Ingrid Hornibrook

In an article shared by our friends at Perfect Duluth Day, it has been determined that Duluth is among one of the happiest places in the U.S. Myself having drank of the Zenith City Kool-Aid – brewed with Duluth water – I wanted to learn more about this statistic, so I clicked through to read the full article, “How Happy is Your City?”, written by Mark Prigg on Daily Mail. Aside from showing the world, yet again, that Duluth is paradise, the study conducted by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research also showed that unhappiness correlates with places that have a higher potential for monetary gain. At last the long debate can be put to rest! We now know that money does not equal happiness.

When I moved to Minneapolis my top two reasons were for job opportunities and monetary gain, while sitting in traffic came in at a close 3rd. When neither job opportunities nor monetary gain panned out, I had to be honest with myself; I was not happy, which resulted in uprooting and moving back to the real life theme park that is Duluth. Not for money, but for lifestyle. As a result, I’m happier and more positive, making my freelance writing work more enjoyable and frequent. Which begins another debate for which I have a theory: happiness equals opportunity, but a happy state of mind is necessary in order to recognize and seize those opportunities.

Let’s be honest, it takes a little extra work to live in Duluth; you have to really want it. But it’s completely worth it! We have icy hills in the winter that cause our version of traffic jams and weather that’s a little challenging to predict. So why would anyone stay here and what makes us so happy?

Think of a challenge you’ve overcome. Got it? Good. Now, remember how empowering it felt when you conquered that mountain.When the hills are too icy to drive on, Duluthians strap on snowshoes and walk to work through our parks, hop on a fat bike to float on top of the snow, or glide along on cross country skis. And thanks to our unpredictable weather, dressing in layers will always be “in” in Duluth. The constant climatic shifts also make it perfectly acceptable to attend business meetings in functional outdoor gear, as one proud Duluthian, Lucie Amundsen of Locally Laid Egg Company, illustrated in her essay published in Duluth Superior Living about our city winning the recent Outside Magazine “Best Place to Live” contest.

There’s no room for complacency in Duluth, making this one empowering place to live. If we don’t like something, we change it. If we want to do something, we do it. We don’t have to wait in line, wait in traffic, or wait for the right time. We just make it happen and feel proud. And that makes us happy. After all, if we wait for the perfect conditions, we wouldn’t get anything done. Thanks to our weather, Duluthians know this better than anyone.

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