How to Standardize Joy
The Children's Hospital cheers me up.
We took my daughter to check out something that could've been a big terrible deal.
And I was stressed.
And I was nervous.
And I was anxious.
And I was happy.
The colors were incredible. Every wall an orange or pink or yellow or green. Kids played games on mounted iPads that were designed so thoughtfully even little kids can play them on their own. The tactile games were just as self-explanatory, which is another way of saying thoughtful.
There was a young boy with one arm. And another boy with a stiff leg and a limp.
It felt more like we were in a science museum than a hospital.
And every one of us needed that.
* * *
I like going to the Needle Exchange in Philadelphia.
I always forget that.
I walk past the people smoking outside, down steep and narrow stairs, and enter the basement where a great purple hallway awaits.
There's always coffee and a movie from the 90s playing.
Like a secret, the small hallway to the case managers and administrators is a beaming and bright yellow. On every wall.
The actual offices are painted bold and energetic orange.
North Philadelphia. Needle Exchange. In an Old Basement.
It's easy to think about what this should look like. For some people, it's even easier to argue why it should look that way.
Undeserving. Waste of resources. Unnecessary. Pointless. On and on.
But color matters.
There's a reason why Sprite tests hundreds of shades of green and yellow on its labels.
And Marissa Mayer tried out 40 different blues.
And there's 1,000 colors of spraypaint.
And flowers cheer us up.
The more responsibility for creating joy we put in our environments, the less we put in ourselves.
Think about it like a house party: you arrange music and food to create joy while you focus on keeping things flowing.
The staff at the Children's Hospital and at the Needle Exchange are incredible. They're personable and hard working.
They let their spaces soothe us.
And then they get to work solving our problems.