Walking in L.A.: What Is Happiness and Can It Run You over? Walking in L.A.: What Is Happiness and Can It Run You over?
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Walking in L.A.: What Is Happiness and Can It Run You over?

by Ryan Bradley

June 6, 2010

The driveway at 10350 Sunset isn't particularly special, it's just the first driveway I come across after an extended, harrowing march along Sunset's sidewalk-less stretch. Here the houses are large and recessed and hidden behind high walls and iron gates. The house at 10350 is no exception—although the wall isn't all that tall. This whole day, through Beverly Hills and now Bel Air and later in Brentwood, I've felt unwelcome, constantly reminded that I am outside the home of someone who has gone to great lengths to keep me there. Are these people, shut away in their walled-off homes, happy? It's not a trite question, because another crucial factor when measuring happiness and long life is the importance of community, specifically your relationship to the people around you—your family, sure, but friends and neighbors too. Buettner calls this "belonging to the right tribe." So if your tribe happens to go walking regularly, chances are you will too, and you'll be happier and healthier and live longer for it.

It's evening when I cross the 405 freeway and I am limping. It's been a long day on a terrible stretch of road and I badly want to reach my destination. It's a place I know and love, the home where my father grew up and my grandparents still live. I turn off Sunset in the gloaming and they are there to greet me in the same home they have been in for more than 60 years. For a moment, I feel like time has stopped and death is still very near.  

Next up: It began with a step and it ends with one too.

Photos by Ryan Bradley.

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Walking in L.A.: What Is Happiness and Can It Run You over?