I read an article recently that said each of us more than ever needs a "happy place" where we can retreat at times from the trials, turmoils and pressures of today's society. It needs to be a place where we can do the things we like without being unduly bothered by having to conform to what others think we should be doing and when we should be doing it.
For some, it may be listening to music or reading a book that they enjoy. It may be going out for coffee with a friend or going for a drive to enjoy nature on less travelled roads. It needs to have a purpose but no pressing deadlines or other pressures; something each of us can do alone or with others.
I think our layout qualifies as a "happy place" for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the construction phase over three and a half years where we could do things together as a club but also contribute by building things at home for the layout. I have never been part of a group before that has worked together as cooperatively and as well in sharing skills, ideas and assistance as you folk. Now that construction has morphed into operations, it has provided the opportunity to work collaboratively with each other to move our trains over the layout, especially on Tuesday night sessions. I never see a scowling face at such sessions except when gremlins derail your train at the farthest area from the aisle and such scowls are momentary and not aimed at others. For some, it also provides an opportunity for a time of socialization. For me, the Friday afternoon sessions are the best "happy places" where two or three of us can run trains often with little chat and usually clear track. This is a personal reflection as I realize that not everyone is able to come up on Fridays.
When I had a layout at home, it was a happy place of sorts for me but since we developed our community layout, it has provided greater enjoyment because it offers the opportunity to enjoy and share running trains with others on a much greater scale [no pun intended] that most would be able to do space and cost-wise with home layouts.