The 2017 Happiness Project

3 Jan

HappinessSomething I’ve learned over the years is that happiness is not something you can seek or plan. You just have to allow yourself to feel it. To notice and appreciate the good things in life — no matter how small — that make you smile. Hopefully on a regular basis.

With so much negativity in the world, that can sometimes be hard. And this year, it may prove extra challenging.

So, to proactively prevent another sucky year like 2016 was, I want to do whatever I can to focus on my own happiness — and hopefully, in the process, share that happiness with others.

Experts suggest that one way to be a happier and calmer person is to keep a gratitude journal, and that’s what I’m going to do. Again. I’ve decided to bring back my Happiness Project — a year-long diary-like blog post in which I document one thing every day that made me smile. (Kind of like an abbreviated version of the journals I used to keep when I was in high school.) I did this in 2015, and it proved quite effective: Even on days I was frustrated, sad, angry, or generally unhappy, there was always at least one thing worth remembering. (And yes, the name is a nod to Gretchen Rubin, whose own Happiness Project started as an experiment and became a best-selling book and movement.)

Here’s how this will work: For the next year, at the end of every day, I’m going to update this blog post by writing down one thing that made me happy, whether that’s something I did, something I ate, something somebody said, a music lyric or line of movie dialogue that resonated with me, a tweet, a significant event in the world, or something else. It’s just that simple. Doesn’t have to be a big thing, or even the most significant thing — just something that made me smile.

The goal is to be more mindful and present, so I can maintain my happiness and positive attitude no matter what happens this year. And if I’m happier, maybe I’ll be healthier, too. (In fact, maybe the people who read this will be happier as well.)

After all, as Groucho Marx once said, “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

On that note, here’s what made me happy every day in 2017.

August 20
TBD

August 19
Really happy I went to Ari “Danger” Day today to celebrate the short but inspiring life of Ari Schultz. Similarly happy that the situation downtown today unfolded the way that it did. Good for Boston!

August 18
Quiet Friday in the office today, so I left a little bit early and went to the movies. And Logan Lucky was worth it.

August 17
Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update Summer Edition tonight. “Chinless turds.” “Who drove the car into the crowd? Hillary’s emails?!” “Sheetcaking!” Awesome.

August 16
Saw Ingrid Goes West for the second time tonight (before it even opens in Boston). I really like that movie.

August 15
Thumbs up for the Butter Cake Crack at the Smoke Shop.

August 14
Today, a bit of procrastination on YouTube eventually led me to learn about a virtual treasure trove of John Mayer concert recordings. Turns out, John supports such recording. Who knew? (I certainly didn’t.) Suffice it to say, I’m glad I tweeted about my YouTube discovery, and that the guy I mentioned was friendly enough to engage with me, despite my initial sarcastic intention.

August 13
Newbury Street was closed to cars today, and it was really nice to walk around. Weather was great, lots of people were out, and many of the stores and restaurants spilled out into the street simply because they could. Very cool.

August 12
So so happy that the rain that was predicted for today never came. It made for a beautuful morning to be at Fenway Park for a tour and then a great night on the roofdeck at the Hotel Envoy.

August 11
Beautiful night in Boston tonight to hang out with Joel, Ted, Tom, Amanda, et al. #SocialRoadTrip weekend is off to a good start!

August 10
Damn, Saturday Night Live – Weekend Update Summer Edition was funny tonight. Worth the hype and worth the wait. It’s good to have this on for a few weeks.

August 9
Joel and Chris are in town for EduWeb (and #SocialRoadTrip weekend), so we met up (along with a couple of their friends) for dinner at Sweet Cheeks. Mmmmm … And then it got even better when the manager asked us to give up an outside table and sit inside so she could accommodate a big group, and she made it worth our while by giving us free drinks and (even better) free biscuits. So, a very good night.

August 8
It was announced today that David Letterman is coming back to television next year. Woo hoo!

August 7
It was lightly drizzling when I left the office tonight, but thankfully, since I didn’t have a jacket or anything, it never turned into full-blown rain. Even when I walked from Reservoir to Chestnut Hill Ave and waited for the B line, or after I got home and grabbed an umbrella before heading out to dinner. Phew!

August 6
Made dinner for myself at home tonight for the first time in a while — including my first corn on the cob of the season. Mmmmm … I love corn on the cob.

August 5
Lazy Saturday mornings are pretty great.

August 4
Chris Martin is such a joyful performer, a guy who seems to genuinely enjoy being on stage and singing those particular songs, and Coldplay puts on such a visually fun show, and I had forgotten just how many of their songs I like, that it made for a great evening tonight. But that’s not all: Thanks to Waze, Holly and I avoided all the Friday afternoon traffic down to Gillette Stadium, and then we found decent parking, and then we got seated at a restaurant right away (despite others being told about an hour-long wait), and then the weather was perfect, and then we got out of our parking spot relatively quickly (all things considered), and then we got home without hitting any traffic (once we left the stadium area, that is). Everything seemed to work out perfectly. So it was a really great evening.

August 3
It’s dorky, I know, but part of Nashville tonight took place at the Grand Ole Opry. And it was cool to see it on the show, knowing I’d just been there a couple weeks ago. Recognized all the nooks and crannies of the backstage area they showed, and of course, the on-stage area too. Was even trying to ID which dressing room Deacon was in. And looks like next week, there’s a scene at the Bluebird. Very cool.

August 2
We had a fire drill at work today, and thankfully, building management told us exactly when it would be. So I followed the lead of some smart coworkers and took the elevator down five minutes earlier so I could avoid having to walk those 11 flights of stairs. And clearly, many people in the building had the same idea judging by how crowded the elevator was and how often it stopped on the way down. Ha!

August 1
Gotta say, the Comm Ave. construction project has been a good thing for me. Despite having to transfer from/to the B line at Chestnut Hill Ave., taking the C line in the morning and, especially, the D train home at night has actually been quicker than taking the B line all the way on a normal day. Might have to keep doing this even after the work is done in a couple weeks.

July 31
So, today, just 10 days after he started, Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci was let go from the Trump administration. And needless to say, the reaction on Twitter was awesome. Case in point. And this. And this. And this. And this. You get the idea. It was a fun afternoon, to say the least.

July 30
Another double-day: Had good luck when I went out to eat today. For brunch, despite it being Sunday at noon, I walked right into the Station Diner and found a seat at the bar. Then, I walked into the Cheesecake Factory around 6:15 for dinner and, despite it being National Cheesecake Day, found a couple open seats at the bar to choose from. Score!

July 29
It was a good day for parking karma: Both times I went to Newton Centre today, there was money already in the meter. And the second time, when I stayed longer than I had paid for, I didn’t get a ticket.

July 28
Went to bed super early last night (8 p.m.) and slept pretty much the whole night. So, that was nice. And then, when I woke up, I learned that the Republicans’ latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare had failed. That was nicer.

July 27
Despite it being the first day of the Comm Ave. construction project, I made it downtown early (waking up a half hour earlier than usual worked), and with enough time to stop for breakfast at Bruegger’s. And I had someone good make my bagel (i.e.: she was generous with the cream cheese), so that was good.

July 26
On a rather unhappy day thanks to our “President,” one thing that made me happy today was when I got in the elevator with some other people, and they were all going to higher floors than the one I was going to, so I didn’t have to stop on the way to 11. Sometimes, it’s the little things.

July 25
Temperatures in Boston today were only in the low 60s, and that actually made me kinda happy.

July 24
Stopped at Christie Cookie Co. this morning and bought a half dozen cookies, hopeful that they’d make it home intact, without melting. When I got home tonight, I was happy to see that, indeed, they had made the trip successfully. Even better: They were delicious! (The couple I ate, anyway.)

July 23
A fantastic day of music today: Spent much of the afternoon at Acme Feed & Seed, listening to Jazzmanic (and drinking a Mule Kicker and two Ass Kickers, and chatting up a cute waitress). Then, at night, I saw a show at the Bluebird. SO COOL. Great last day in Nashville.

July 22
Today was “friend day.” Had a good time hanging out with Miriam and Glenda (separately) in Nashville. This city is definitely more fun when you have people to do stuff with.

July 21
Spent more time than expected today at the Country Music Hall of Fame, including tours of RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print, which was a good thing in the end, given how hot it was outside.

July 20
Thank you to the Lyft driver who offered me a bottle of water today. And that was before I was a sweaty mess! Damn, Nashville is hot.

July 19
Monday night, on my way home from seeing Dunkirk, there were a couple of tourists on my T train who didn’t exactly know where they were going, so I and other fellow passengers were helping them get to where they needed to go. Then tonight, on my way home from work, there was that same couple. And they remembered me too. So when things quieted down a little, I went over and had a nice conversation with them about their trip. Turns out they’re from Toronto, and they’ve loved Boston, and they think everyone here is so nice. Ha! Anyway, it was fun and random to bump into them again.

July 18
Damn. Glenda and I are gonna eat (and drink) well on Saturday. Much time was spent today looking at the website of Edley’s. Yum! And when we started tweeting about them, they tweeted back and suggested somewhere to go after dinner. Bonus!

July 17
I’m glad I got to work when I did today so I could get tickets to a show at the Bluebird in Nashville when they went on sale at 9am. Damn, those sell out quickly! It wasn’t exactly the show I wanted, but it’ll be cool to see any show there.

July 16
I don’t know why I’ve never really used Waze all that much before, but I did twice this weekend and really appreciated it routing me around traffic when it could and alerting me of upcoming police cars (there were a lot of them today, for some reason), not to mention telling me how long I would be stuck in traffic when I was unable to avoid it. I need to use it more often, even when I’m driving around locally.

July 15
Had fun surprising Abby at camp today for Visiting Day. Really enjoyed seeing where she spends her summers now; it’s a great place.

July 14
Worked at home today, so I was able to end my day and hit the road to New York early, at 2:30.

July 13
Discovered today that the same weekend I’m going to be in Nashville, Glenda will be there too. Pure coincidence, but now I’ll have someone else to hang out with while I’m there. We’ve already made plans to meet up for dinner Saturday night. Woo hoo!

July 12
Made the smart decision to leave my office a little bit earlier so I could get to Silvertone (where I was meeting up with Amy, Amy, and Michael) before the rain started. And thankfully, I got there just in time, before it really started pouring. And we were inside during the entire storm, so when we got out, it was just misting. Phew!

July 11
Today was the day the Trump administration really started to fall apart, and it was glorious. Before the NY Times could do it, Don Jr. revealed an email thread that showed how enthusiastically he was ready to receive incriminating info from Russia about Hillary Clinton that would benefit his father’s campaign. What an idiot. And the fact that it was his emails that did him in … well, that’s #karma #irony #schadenfreude …

July 10
Watched the first episode of The Nineties on CNN, “The One About TV.” So much fun. Made me want to rewatch a few of my favorite shows from 20 years ago.

July 9
Went to Target today and bought a new fan for my bedroom. So far, so good. It’s quieter, and seems to be more effective than the one I was using.

July 8
Those fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies at Panera Bread sure are yummy.

July 7
That thing when one of your online pals tweets that she used to work somewhere you go all the time (i.e.: Comella’s in Chestnut Hill) and now you’re sure you’ve met her offline before. Small world.

July 6
Was looking into some places in Nashville today, including the AirBnB where I’m staying, and got even more excited for my upcoming trip. Can I go today? Please?

July 5
Today I finished writing my fourth new blog post in a week and queued it up for publishing tomorrow morning. That makes five posts in seven days (including one I updated and republished). Big pat on the back to me. Now, to continue the momentum.

July 4
Did a lot of walking today: Twice around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, all around Boylston and Newbury Streets and then all the way back to the St. Mary’s T stop, and finally, from my car on the Comm Ave side of the BU Bridge all the way to MIT to meet Justine and Nick for the Pops and fireworks, and back. Must have been eight miles or more in total. Probably more. That’s a good thing. Suffice it to say, I’m definitely going to sleep well tonight.

July 3
Today I finally — FINALLY!! — folded and put away the stack of clean clothes that had been sitting on my chair for months. (MONTHS!!) Of course, now my drawers are overstuffed, and in the case of my socks, I had to put some in a bag. In other words, now I have a project for another day. (PURGING!!) But for now, I’m happy to not have to look at that pile anymore, and to have options for where I sit when I watch TV again.

July 2
That thing where I plan to write one blog post, but it turns into multiple ones — starting with the one I published tonight, my first stand-alone movie review of the year. (And — spoiler alert — hopefully, the first of at least three I want to publish this week.)

July 1
Finally watched ‘Oh, Hello’ on Broadway on Netflix tonight. Even funnier and better than I was expecting. So worth it.

June 30
For the first time this year, I went for a walk around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir this afternoon after work. Felt good to be exercising like that. Really don’t know why I don’t it more often. (Yes, I do. It’s because I’m lazy.) And bonus: Midway through the walk, the cloud got really dark and cloudy. But thankfully, I made it home without getting rained on. Phew!

June 29
On the way home from work tonight, I opted to have dinner at Boloco, forgetting that I had a $5 birthday credit to use there. So that made for a cheaper meal, and allowed me to make use of another birthday offer. I’ve done really well this year taking advantage of those.

June 28
Put most simply … Spider Man: Homecoming is the most fun I’ve had at the movies in a long time.

June 27
Tonight I saw the movie The Big Sick. It was wonderful. Funny. Touching. Romantic. Timely. Just great. Definitely in the top three of all the movies I’ve seen this year so far.

June 26
Twitter replied to me today. Like, the Twitter. On Twitter. How often does THAT happen? To anybody. (Almost never.) So, that was kinda cool.

June 25
Found some great deals at the Banana Republic outlet at Assembly Row today and ended up saving more than I spent. Score!

June 24
This morning, I bought a last-minute ticket to tonight’s Hall & Oates and Tears for Fears concert, and then I went to the show with Brian and Holly. Good times, even if the people sitting around me didn’t like that I was up and dancing for much of the Tears for Fears set. Too bad!

June 23
Thrillist was right: The Lookout Rooftop & Bar at the Envoy Hotel is awesome. What a view! What an attractive crowd! What good drinks! And what a great summer afternoon to enjoy it all (with Maureen, Melissa, Brianna, and Jay).

June 22
Learned today that after our team lunch tomorrow, we’re just gonna call it a day (and week). So, that’s something to look forward to.

June 21
I went to bed a bit earlier than usual last night, so when the sun woke me up this morning, I didn’t need to hit snooze as often as I usually did. So I got out to the T a little earlier than I usually do, and got to Park Street a little earlier than I usually do as well. So I grabbed a good breakfast on my way to work, and managed to beat Melissa and Maureen to the office for a change. Go me!

June 20
Today was the 30th anniversary of my bar mitzvah (yes, really), so I posted a couple pics from the day on Facebook. Apparently, they hit a chord; my post received more than 100 likes and a bunch of comments. Whoa!

June 19
That thing where you’re going to lunch, and the SailBoston parade is going right by your office building at the same time. As if I needed more incentive to head down to the Seaport to check out the tall ships after work, which I did, while the sky was still blue and photogenic, and I managed to do it and then get on the subway at Park Street before the rains came too.

June 18
Finally tried Oath Craft Pizza tonight. Better than I expected! Will definitely have it again.

June 17
Marc and Ian saw the Captain Underpants movie today. Shortly thereafter, I received this text message.


The thought of Marc in a movie laughing so hard that some random woman shushed him made me smile and laugh pretty hard. That’s awesome. (That said, who shushes a 6-year-old kid at a kids’ movie? Even I wouldn’t do that. Ha!)

June 16
Some time in the last day or so, I passed the 5,000-followers mark on Twitter. I know metrics like that don’t really mean much, and it’s all about quality of engagement, but 5,000 is a big number, so I figured it was a milestone worth celebrating.

June 15
Had a good day at Skyword’s Forward 2017 conference today. I always love getting out of the office, and out of my head, to be among peers who do the same work I do and who encounter similar challenges and who have ideas and solutions I may not have thought of. Definitely worth it.

June 14
Thanks to my friend Deb, I learned the secret password for a Spotify presale and scored a couple tickets to see the Lone Bellow in Boston this November. Woo hoo!!

June 13
Got to work today only to learn that I missed a forecast of thunder, lightning, and rain for later in the afternoon. (Not sure how that’s possible.) But thankfully, when it did start, it was brief and only rain, and it didn’t affect my evening at all. Phew!

June 12
Had the day off from work today, but temps were above 90 degrees and I had a movie screening downtown at 7 p.m., so after picking up my new sunglasses from Warby Parker, I decided to use my Ben & Jerry’s birthday coupon and have ice cream for dinner, while walking through the Public Garden and Boston Common. Yum. #adulting

June 11
Took some good pics with Dad today at Dana’s wedding, which was a fun time. It’s nice when we get the family together, considering how rarely we do it.

June 10
Got to Panera today just a couple minutes before the chocolate chip cookies were being taken out of the oven, so I got one with my lunch that was warm and gooey. Mmmmm …

June 9
For the first time in I don’t know how long, I managed to get on the T this morning before 8 a.m. Sure, the train pulled out of the station at 7:59 … but still. That’s “early” for me — by about 10–15 minutes. So, a (minor, very minor) accomplishment worth “celebrating.”

June 8
Was pretty psyched today to learn that my new glasses had already arrived at Warby Parker, less than a week after I’d ordered them. So I picked them up after work, then managed to get a haircut and grab a quick bite for dinner before heading home to do my Content Marketing Awards judging and watch the last episode of season 5 of House of Cards … making this a very productive evening.

June 7
Had a fun 43rd birthday, complete with phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook posts, voice mails, tweets, cards, cupcakes, FaceTime conversations, a decorated desk, free lunch, singing, a pen pal letter from Abby, and a well received blog post. Now, on to what’s next!

June 6
Got my advance-screening invite for Baby Driver today. I cannot wait to see that movie. Can. Not. Wait.

June 5
Turned on MTV while eating dinner tonight and was lucky enough to find they were showing one of my all-time favorite scenes from Friends: When Chandler is trying to avoid Janice and tells her he’s moving to Yemen. Then actually has to go. Ha ha ha ha … 15 Yemen Road, Yemen.

June 4
Drove around Newton today with the #OneLoveManchester concert in England streaming live on my iPhone (via Twitter). Ain’t technology grand? And what a great show, too.

June 3
This was supposed to be a rainy weekend, but today was actually kind of a nice day (or at least, it didn’t rain much). So I didn’t stay at home bingeing on House of Cards like I planned to.

June 2
Today was National Donut Day (or National Doughnut Day), and to celebrate Melissa and I decided to wait about 45 minutes at Kane’s for donuts. Have I mentioned how much I like having coworkers who like doing stuff like that?

June 1
Melissa and I decided to capitalize on the nice weather today — probably the nicest day we’re gonna get for at least a week — and eat lunch outside. I love working in a part of town where that’s an attractive option, and having coworkers to do it with.

May 31
All of a sudden today, a random tweet of mine from a week ago started getting liked and retweeted. Turns out, I’d been included in one of those Twitter “Moments.” Hundreds of likes. Hundreds!! So that was a fun laugh.

May 30
Saw Wonder Woman tonight, and yeah, the hype was mostly right: That’s a good movie. Especially the battlefield scene; very cool.

May 29
Today I’m happy for inspiration — even if it takes a while to arrive. This time, it hit me just in time.

May 28
A day of fun in NYC, including time spent with friends and a visit to both the Roots store and World Trade Center memorial. But one thing that really made me smile today was that, after a 45-minute wait on line, the cookie dough at was so so good, and so worth the hype and the wait. #thisiswhyimfat

May 27
The weather was not looking good, and I didn’t expect to stay long, but after walking along the High Line in NYC for a little bit and really enjoying it, I kept on walking and made it all the way to the end. And the weather felt like it actually got better as I kept on walking. Score!

May 26
I left later than I wanted to, and hit about an hour’s worth of traffic, but that just meant I would be in Vernon, Connecticut, right at dinnertime. So I enjoyed a delicious dinner at Rein’s Deli before finishing my drive down to New York for the weekend.

May 25
Saw Ingrid Goes West tonight and really liked it. Very funny, very topical, well acted, well written and filmed. Maybe my favorite movie I’ve seen so far this year. This one’s not out till August 11, so it was a super-early special screening, and I look forward to maybe even seeing it again closer to its release later this summer.

May 24
I love this week, and how quiet the city generally is thanks to most of the colleges being closed and many people off work. The commute in to work this morning was quicker than normal, and the train definitely less crowded. So nice.

May 23
Booked my flight for Thanksgiving weekend, and was happy to have found a decently priced fare. But then I realized I had a $90 credit in my frequent flyer account, so that made the fare even better. Score!

May 22
I don’t actually know them, but thanks to Twitter I kinda feel like I do, and today I was happy to learn that Brian and Jamie Stelter (from CNN and NY1, respectively) had their baby over the weekend. Mazel tov!

May 21
Twenty-five years after the last episode aired, and just like Laura Palmer herself said would happen, Twin Peaks has returned. The first episode tonight was predictably weird, and I don’t quite know what to make of it, but I’m glad this show, a favorite of mine from my high-school days, is back.

May 20
Took a road trip up to Ipswich to wander around the Crane Estate today (it was their free open-house day). Gorgeous place, and a picture-perfect day to be visiting.

May 19
Took a chance on a warm Friday evening and went to Cabot’s for dinner (and, more importantly, ice cream) tonight. Was able to walk right in and find a seat at the counter. Score!

May 18
It was a hot, hot day in Boston today, but I enjoyed my first after-work walk of the year. Made it all the way from the office to J.P. Licks at the Hynes T stop. And that ice cream was delicious. Hello, Summer!

May 17
A friend passed along a promo code for AirBnB, so now I have a $40 discount when I go to Nashville. Woo hoo!

May 16
Introduced Elle to the wonder and deliciousness that is the biscuits at Sweet Cheeks (and the honey butter, of course) tonight. Thankfully, they lived up to (my) hype. Mmmmm …

May 15
Celtics win game 7 and go on to the next round of the playoffs vs LeBron James and the Cavs! Woo hoo!!

May 14
A rainy Sunday was the perfect day to binge-watch the remaining eight (of 10) episodes of Master of None season two. And it was totally worth it: That was some excellent TV.

May 13
Zac Brown Band isn’t coming to Boston this summer, so how cool was it that they live-streamed their show tonight in Atlanta on Twitter? Very cool.

May 12
Hooray for small wins! After two weeks of annoyance, today I learned that our team at work would no longer have to track our (unbillable) time. Phew.

May 11
Andrew’s dad hadn’t woken up after a 9-hour back surgery a week ago, and none of the doctors could figure out why. Then today, randomly, finally, seven days later, he woke up and spontaneously asked for a Diet Coke. I was happy to hear good news like that.

May 10
Something I posted on Facebook yesterday about National Teacher Day (and how Mr. Montgomery’s ninth-grade class assignment to keep a journal eventually led to my current career) seems to have struck a chord with people. Lots of likes and a bunch of comments. They just keep coming, even a day later. Very cool.

May 9
This.

May 8
For a nice change, had a film screening tonight at the Regal Fenway theater — instead of at the AMC Boston Common, where they usually are. What a difference that made: Better picture, much louder sound, more comfortable seats. And I enjoyed the movie, King Arthur, more than I thought I would. (Especially the very cool musical score.)

May 7
Barack Obama was in Boston tonight to receive the Profile in Courage award at the John F. Kennedy Library, and thank God for MSNBC (and Facebook Live)  broadcasting his acceptance speech. Now more than ever, his thoughtful way of speaking and community-minded messaging is so missed. That man is all class. It’s always good to see and hear him.

May 6
I was listening to Chris Stapleton’s new album on Spotify today, and when it ended, the app played me a random song by him from 2007 called “Save the Bones for Henry Jones” that was so fun and catchy. (No surprise; it appeared on a Disney album.) Wasn’t long before I was singing along.

May 5
Found out today how my salary was being “remixed,” and I’m quite happy with the new numbers. It’s like getting a big raise without actually getting a raise, but it still works in my favor.

May 4
Got a quick chuckle today from this article about how Rep. Sean Duffy gave Rep. Trey Gowdy an ear flick while he was doing a live TV interview. Ha!

May 3
Got my first “pen pal” letter from Abby today. So sweet, so funny. An instant classic. This is going to be fun.

May 2
I didn’t love the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, so today I’m happy that I found the sequel fun and more enjoyable.

May 1
My dinner plans tonight were postponed, and that didn’t make me happy, but I was happy that instead, I decided to go home and cook dinner for myself rather than go somewhere and eat something bad (I mean, worse) that I didn’t need to eat. Sometimes I do make the right decisions.

April 30
Since he’s not on Facebook (yet) and is only just starting to use Twitter, I enjoyed catching up with Joe today. There’s so much to talk about when you don’t know what the other person has been up to since you last hung out months ago.

April 29
A beautiful day out today, so I spent some time outside at Assembly Row and earned the title of Coolest Uncle when I “met” Lego Batman and (at a special Disney event there) Lightning McQueen.

April 28
At the last minute, I decided to check Red Sox Replay and see if there were any tickets available for tonight’s game vs the Cubs. Sure enough, I managed to snag a field box seat, four rows from the field, for less than face value. Sweet! And the Red Sox won. Also sweet! (Though I would have been happy if the Cubs won, too.) And it was a beautiful (weather) night to be outside at the ballpark. Triple sweet!

April 27
On the way into work today, my T train went express twice — once from Washington to Harvard, and then again from Harvard to BU Central. Sweet!

April 26
I wasn’t sure whether the pants I was wearing today were black or navy. Initially, I thought they were black, so I wore a black belt and black shoes and socks. But then, when I went outside, I had second thoughts. So I went back inside and changed to a brown belt, brown shoes, and navy socks. Turns out that was the right decision: my pants were, in fact, navy. Phew!

April 25
Today was one of those random days where both of my teammates left “early,” so I was able to leave the office before 5:30 and get home at a decent hour.

April 24
Got my tax refund check in the mail today. That’s a nice chunk of change that’ll come in handy during my trip to Nashville this summer.

April 23
Bubby made a random, surprise appearance in my dream last night. I was so happy to see her that I gave her a giant hug. Yes, I know it wasn’t real. But I still woke up with a smile on my face.

April 22
Since I waited more than a week to see The Fate of the Furious (not necessarily by choice), I decided to go see it in IMAX at the Jordan’s in Natick, and it was worth it. Fun flick, and I especially loved seeing/hearing Helen Mirren say “the devil’s bunghole.”

April 21
It’s always nice to get a second wind on a Friday night, so I can stay up and watch the entire episode of Real Time with Bill Maher.

April 20
After three days of staying home, I was happy to be back in the office today.

April 19
My doctor told me today I most likely don’t actually have pneumonia. So that was good, even if he didn’t completely rule it out.

April 18
As “easy” as Passover was this year (all things considered), it’s always nice when it’s over. And tonight, I definitely enjoyed my pasta dinner from Comella’s.

April 17
Beautiful day today — for the spectators more than for the runners, anyway — and since I was “working from home,” I was able to enjoy the marathon a bit. I love today.

April 16
A beautiful, warm day gave me incentive to leave my apartment today … and go to the Urgent Care center, where I learned I don’t have a “man cold,” I have pneumonia. So, while that didn’t make me happy, I am glad I know why I’ve been sick. Now I just have to get better.

April 15
Spent nearly the entire day today on my couch, but it was “productive:” I caught up on every show waiting for me on my DVR. Hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow.

April 14
I’m not happy that I’m sick again, but I am (sorta) happy that I decided to leave work early today and go home to get under the covers and take a nap. (Or try to take a nap, anyway.)

April 13
Thank God for Seder leftovers, which allow me to have dinner ready quickly during Passover when I’ve spent a late(r) night in the city.

April 12
Few things say happy Passover like the smell of a freshly baked Manischewitz coffee cake permeating your apartment. Mmmmmm …

April 11
Got to see Dad happy a couple times today: When I picked him up from work, and when he was smiling and laughing during the Seder tonight. That was really nice.

April 10
Left Boston later than planned, but still arrived to meet Mom and Dad earlier than expected. #FTW

April 9
Today was a near-perfect Spring day: Beautiful weather, the kind where you can’t help but roll down your windows and turn up the volume on your radio; crowded city with everyone seemingly in a good mood; a nice walk across town; good parking karma; and all of that capped off with a great time at the John Mayer concert. Hooray!

April 8
Last night, David Letterman inducted Pearl Jam into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and by this morning, there were already multiple videos of it on YouTube. It was so good. I miss Dave. But God Bless the Interwebs.

April 7
Today I registered for 826 Boston’s Half Half Half Half Half Marathon (that’s approximately .826 miles. Of course it is). So, that’ll be fun. And easy.

April 6
Mentioned to a friend on Twitter today that I was probably going to Nashville this summer, and he said he’d join me. So now I’ll have someone to hang with for a couple days when I go.

April 5
Went with a couple coworkers to try the brand new Texas-style BBQ joint Shed’s today at lunch. It was real good. This is going to be dangerous having it so close to my office.

April 4
Went to lunch later than I wanted, and it was rainy and gross out, but thankfully, Casa Razdora still had some chicken parm left. (Typically, they run out just after 1pm.) So I had a delicious lunch after all.

April 3
Baseball is back, and the Red Sox won their first game. Woo hoo!!

April 2
I had been thinking about going to L.A. this summer, but after posting something on Facebook and Twitter about possibly going to Nashville instead, and getting a lot of encouragement about how great it would be, I’m excited about the prospect of that. Now I need to get on with booking the trip.

April 1
Spent a bit of time today reading the new EW “untold stories” issue. It’s a lot of fun — and I haven’t even gotten to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer cover story yet!

March 31
They call her #UberBae. And she has quite a story to tell. Reading it made my morning commute today so much better.

March 30
Went to use up a Brooks Brothers gift card before it expired, and found a nice shirt that was only available in Regent, the slim fit. Thankfully, it actually fit me well. So I bought it.

March 29
Finally ate at Eataly tonight. Had the Tagliatelle. It was delicious!

March 28
I learned today that Baby Driver, a movie I’m very much looking forward to seeing, will now be released six weeks earlier than planned, on Wednesday, June 28 instead of Friday, August 11. So that’s cool.

March 27
Damn. That was one fantastic episode of Bates Motel tonight. I loved how they reinvented the classic Psycho storyline, and how they flipped the script. Now I’m even more eager to see what happens in the series’ last four episodes.

March 26
It’s always fun to have a lazy Sunday morning with my niece and nephews, watching TV, playing Wii games, etc.

March 25
Tonight I was so so happy Mitzi and I got tickets to see Dear Evan Hansen, which was an incredible show. Powerful performance by star Ben Platt; great, memorable music by the guys who also did La La Land; and a contemporary story told with heart and respect and insight. It may not be the happiest of musicals, but it’s definitely a must-see.

March 24
They’re calling it a colossal failure: The president’s attempt to “repeal and replace” so-called Obamacare went down in flames today. He even pulled the bill before the House could vote on it, because he knew he didn’t have enough votes for it to pass. Ha!

March 23
You hate to see anyone lose their job, and oh boy, was I glad to not be the Cracker Barrel social media person, but man … the Brad’s wife story sure did make me laugh today. Poor Brad’s wife. Ha ha ha ha …

March 22
Participated in three Twitter chats today, and got some great response and engagement from other participants. Every now and then I say some pretty smart things. Ha!

March 21
I think the only reason I’m still watching New Girl is Lamorne Morris. He’s clearly the most underrated member of that cast.

March 20
Happy International Day of Happiness! Today, I was really happy that, even though I worked late(r than I expected or wanted to), it was still light out when I left the office. Thank you, Daylight Savings Time.

March 19
Salvaged what was shaping up to be a nothing day (damned cold) by going to see Beauty and the Beast. And it was worth it; despite not being a fan of the 1991 animated film, I found this version quite enjoyable. Then again, with Emma Watson as the lead character, how could it not be?

March 18
Productive day: Got my car inspected, got my oil changed, mailed my tax information, had a brake light replaced, and did some grocery shopping. Ticked a lot off my to-do list.

March 17
Today at lunch, having just blown my nose in the office, being outside and breathing in that fresh, cool air felt sooooo good.

March 16
It’s always nice to receive kudos for good work, especially when it’s a project that’s been a bit of a bear and has taken longer than expected. Looking forward to our deployment story site being live publicly in a week or two!

March 15
I’m sick again (ugh), so today I was happy simply because I decided to work from home instead of the office.

March 14
Tonight was the season finale of This Is Us. Which was a good thing, because, while I watch the show every week, I really don’t like it very much. So now I can spend the hour watching something I actually enjoy.

March 13
Tonight it was brought to my attention that a photo I’m in from freshman year of college, that once appeared in the Boston Herald, is being sold on eBay for $20. Ha! So random.

March 12
Thank God for the NoWait app, which saved Dan and me about 90 minutes of waiting time at the Friendly Toast in Back Bay today. (Delicious brunch, btw.)

March 11
Man, do I love that Maren Morris song “My Church.”

March 10
This.

March 9
Got a significant writing project “done” (or at least, moved for approval) today. It’s good to not have that one hanging over me anymore, and good for me not procrastinating about getting it done.

March 8
After what felt like a solid month, I finally got the approvals I needed to publish our first blog post since mid November. It really shouldn’t take that long, but this one did, so that made the simple act of publishing a blog post feel like a big accomplishment today.

March 7
Today I was reminded that, as of this month, I’ve been living in Boston for 20 years. (Not including my college years.) Somehow, I missed the actual day anniversary last week. But since moving to Boston was one of the best decisions I have ever made, I’m glad that I remembered it eventually and was able to take a moment and smile about it.

March 6
For one reason or another, I’ve had occasions to reread old blog posts recently, and it has reminded me of what a good writer I used to be — or, rather, I can be when I care about what I’m writing. Tonight, after watching a run-through of a friend’s SXSW presentation, I reread another old blog post. And it makes me happy because I know I have this talent in me. I really need to get back in the habit of blogging more regularly again.

March 5
Solid night of TV tonight: The series premieres of Making History, Time After Time, and Feud, then Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Sunday nights just got busy again.

March 4
On a super-cold day, with not much else to do and no desire to stay home, I decided to see La La Land for the third time. First time I saw it, I didn’t love this movie. But damn, is it still enjoyable, even after two more viewings.

March 3
Today my friends Mike and Erica learned that their 5-year-old son, Ari, would finally be getting a new heart after 221 days on the waiting list and many weeks in the hospital. Ari was born with congestive heart failure, so he’s been a fighter his entire life. The kid has an unbreakable, infectious spirit and this was news that made me really happy for their entire family.

March 2
Spent today in Poughkeepsie for work, and found a bagel place close to my hotel. So, while my coworker was on a call, I took a quick drive over to grab some lunch and enjoyed some New York–style crumb cake as dessert. Mmmmmmm …

March 1
Andrew was honored today for his work to increase colon cancer awareness and promote screenings, and as part of the program, he was interviewed by Luke Perry. That was pretty cool. And it was also cool that the event was live-streamed so I could watch it.

February 28
Received a positive annual performance review and some very encouraging advice from Maureen today. I may not love my job, but I’m in a very lucky position right now.

February 27
I bought a third pillow for my bed this weekend, and now I can keep my head elevated all night. It made for a good night of sleep last night, after being up late watching TV, and allowed me to get out of bed more easily this morning.

February 26
After a very enjoyable Oscars show, Moonlight pulled out a surprise (super surprise, actually) win for Best Picture over La La Land. Both are good movies, but I’m really happy Moonlight came out on top. And I’m happy La La Land didn’t sweep the entire evening; it was nice to see Manchester by the Sea win a couple awards too, and even Arrival take home a prize.

February 25
I think I listened to John Mayer’s new song “Still Feel Like Your Man” about a dozen times today or more — most of them with the windows down, given the warm temperatures. (Yes, it was a warm day in February again.) Despite it being a breakup song, it’s got such an upbeat sound to it.

February 24
For the first time in about two weeks, I slept the entire night without having to get up for coughing or sore throat or whatever. And so today, I felt closer to healthy than I’ve felt in that same period. I think, finally, this cold or sickness or whatever has passed.

February 23
Fun time tonight hanging out with local marketing folks at a “3 Months till Grill Season” party. And a perfect night to walk from my office in Post Office Square to the Seaport area, where the Aloft hotel (and the party) was. With temperatures in the high 60s today, it didn’t feel like February 23 at all.

February 22
That thing where a friend tells you how she’s struggling to use Twitter … then reveals she has two secret Twitter alter egos that are much more active than her real handle is. Ha ha ha ha … that made me laugh.

February 21
Today is dad’s 71st birthday. There wasn’t a ton of celebration this year, but I’m glad we still have much to celebrate.

February 20
One kinda nice thing about having to work on a national holiday is the fact that when you go to a place like COSI for lunch, there will be barely any customers there and you can get a sandwich on warm, fresh bread that literally comes straight from the oven. Yum.

February 19
Temperature hit the high 50s in Boston today. On February 19. And it was sunny. So, yeah. Nothing bad about that.

February 18
Today I sat in Panera eating lunch and reading the new issue of Entertainment Weekly (the one with the beautiful photo of Emma Watson on the cover) for an hour or so. On a day when I still wasn’t feeling so well, and didn’t really do all that much, that was a highlight.

February 17
Jamie Cullum dropped a new song today, and even though it’s not available in the U.S. right now, I’m still happy because (I assume) it means he’ll be coming out with a new album later this year.

February 16
Left work a little early today to go to a movie screening, and it was totally worth it: Logan was good.

February 15
At the risk of sounding like a horny teenager, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue dropped today, and wow. Just … wow. Special shoutout to Aly Raisman. Damn, girl!

February 14
Despite sleeping in an extra 20 minutes this morning, my T train made it to Park Street just before 9 a.m., giving me just enough time to stop for a “special” Valentine’s Day breakfast on the way to the office.

February 13
I think I’m sick. But thankfully, I had some Sudafed at home that hadn’t expired. Let’s hope that helps.

February 12
Didn’t think I’d be able to leave my apartment today due to the snow (MOAR SNOW!) but there was an unexpected window of time where it stopped and I could get out and do some things, so I did.

February 11
The signs at Patriot Place today said the Hall of Fame was completely sold out this weekend. But being me, I asked if that was really true, and sure enough, it wasn’t. (Turns out, the lines inside were moving faster than expected, but they were trying to keep that fact on the DL to keep the crowds manageable.) So I got to go in and take photos with the brand new Super Bowl trophy — and other Patriots memorabilia — after all. Good stuff. Glad I asked.

February 10
I consider it a bit of an accomplishment when I can stay up late enough to watch the entire episode of Real Time with Bill Maher live on a Friday night, and I’m glad I did tonight, so I didn’t miss this exchange between Piers Morgan and Jim Jefferies. Bravo, Jim. Nailed it.

February 9
Big snow storm today (we got a foot!) and I was happy to be (working at) home, instead of in Poughkeepsie, which is where I was supposed to be, and where I probably would have been stuck if our meeting hadn’t been postponed.

February 8
One nice thing about working from home (which I did today) is being able to eat something stinky for lunch that I’d never want to eat in the office. Tuna fish, for example.

February 7
Saw The Lego Batman Movie tonight. Not as good as the original Lego Movie, but so much fun. Loved all the meta Batman jokes.

February 6
Today, Maureen practically insisted that our entire team go to the Patriots victory parade tomorrow. How nice to have a manager (and friend) like that.

February 5
OMG! The Patriots came back from the biggest deficit in Super Bowl history to win the game 34-28 in overtime (first time a Super Bowl game has ever gone to overtime), absolutely stunning the Falcons and nearly everyone watching the game (including me). Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP for the fourth time. And Commissioner Roger Goodell had to eat a lot of crow. What an unbelievable night. WOW.

February 4
Saw my niece’s annual school show today, The Wizard of Oz. I love watching how they distribute the spotlight, and how multiple people play one character, and how the kids don’t always understand what they’re saying. And of course, I love watching Abby be a part of it.

February 3
Got tickets to see John Mayer in Boston (thank you, Ticketmaster mobile app!), and then learned the Record Company is his opening act. That’s going to be an awesome show!

February 2
As if it wasn’t enough that my flight home landed about a half-hour early, now Lyft (and Uber) is picking up at the airport again. Woo hoo!

February 1
Back in Chicago again, for the night (for work), and was able to see Andrew and Rachel — and surprise the kids, who were excited. I love coming to this city, and seeing good friends is a big reason why.

January 31
Stopped for a quick bite at Trident Café tonight, and they had When Harry Met Sally playing on the TVs. Don’t remember when the last time I saw that movie was, but even though the sound was off and the closed captioning was on, I could still hear it in my head and was reciting lines of dialogue as they happened. Still such a great movie, and it made for a fun meal. I didn’t want to leave.

January 30
John Mayer is going back on tour to support his new album, and will be in Boston in early April. I wanna go!

January 29
Wrote a blog post today, and spent a lot of time rereading it and editing it and rewriting it, before I decided, ultimately, to scrap it. For some reason, I just couldn’t get the words out correctly. Not publishing a blog post shouldn’t necessarily make me happy, but I’m glad I spent the time to think through and process some emotions, didn’t force it, and didn’t publish the blog post just to publish it.

January 28
Today was a good day for the mail: Not only did I receive the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (the Oscar nominations issue!) a day earlier than I’ve been receiving it, I also got the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl programs (wrapped in plastic and everything) — thanks to my friend Cat, who designed them.

January 27
My toilet hasn’t been working correctly, but tonight, before calling a plumber or going out to buy a new one, I figured out all by myself how to fix it. Go me!

January 26
That thing where you’re at work a bit later than usual and about to leave, and then you get a DM from a friend, who says, “I’m in the city. You still around? Wanna meet up for dinner/drinks?” Hooray for impromptu, spur-of-the-moment meetups!

January 25
Today, someone paid me a nice compliment after I participated in a Twitter chat: “I love all these nuggets you drop on authentic voice and advocacy. Thank you for being a steward for this stuff, Martin! You say it in a way that strips out the lingo and buzzwords and make it sound like it’s not the same old stuff. ‘Refreshing’ is the word I’d use.” So, that was nice.

January 24
One nice thing about working from home today was the fact that, for the first time in a very long time, I could watch the Oscar nominations be announced in real time. And I did.

January 23
Today I learned that someone highly respected in the content marketing world was wondering why I hadn’t submitted a speaking proposal for a conference he runs. It’s nice to know I’m thought of so highly that he would be disappointed by that. Maybe next year.

January 22
Woo hoo! The Patriots are going back to the Super Bowl! Woo hoo!

January 21
How inspiring, how beautiful, how awesome it was today to see hundreds of thousands of people — maybe even millions, total — around the world marching (where possible, given the large crowds) and protesting and rallying for women, for love, for kindness, for equal rights and equal treatment. Made me really proud to be an American.

January 20
One of the best things I’ve done recently was buy Dunkin’ Donuts hot chocolate K-Cups to drink at work. We ran out of the generic ones in the office, but these are so much better that I’m going to keep on buying them even if the office gets restocked.

January 19
One nice thing about being a blogger as long as I have been one is having posts like this one, and being able to reread them and reminisce all these years later. On Barack Obama’s last day as President, it was nice to read the words of a more hopeful me regarding the state of our government and my attitude toward politics. I’m grateful that I was able to vote for Barack Obama and see him get inaugurated, and I’m thankful for all he accomplished as President. He (and his wife) will definitely be missed.

January 18
Kinda mostly enjoyed The Founder tonight — especially the sequence where the McDonald brothers explain to Ray Kroc how they created their restaurant and the fast-food cooking and delivery technique.

January 17
Tonight, for what I think was the very first time, I made a salmon fillet for dinner. And it was good! Nice to have something else easy and healthy (and quick) to add to my “cooking” repertoire.

January 16
One nice thing about working on a day when not a lot of other people are is that the T is a lot less crowded and moves faster, there are no lines at lunch places, and the city is generally pretty quiet.

img_3315January 15
Woke up this morning and, for the first time, my niece and nephews were all there. My first three-kid sleepover was a success!

January 14
We took my niece and nephews to the ropes course at Jordan’s Furniture in Reading today. It’s amazing the things they do that I would never have done when I was their age — much less now.

January 13
My apartment is now clean(er) again, just in time for my weekend visitors.

January 12
For four of the five days I’ve worked this year, I’ve been good and had a salad for lunch (from Hale & Hearty). Today I decided to change dressings — from Italian Herb to Garlic Parmesan. And you know what? It was delicious. Maybe a little more caesar-y than I wanted, but yeah. That was good.

January 11
Yesterday, the office was pretty much dead. So today, the fact that I wasn’t entirely alone was a good thing.

January 10
I don’t like a lot about politics, but I sure have liked having Barack Obama as my President. His speech tonight was another example of why.

January 9
The weather was finally — finally — nice in Austin, so I spent my last day in town doing something I hadn’t done whole a lot of thus far: walking. First, around the UT Austin campus, and then all the way across town to Iron Works BBQ.

January 8
Holy crap. The Manmosa — one liter of mimosa goodness at Banger’s — sure did throw me for a loop today. Ha! But it was worth it.

January 7
After a grey, chilly day and two super-cold nights, I woke up to more mild temperatures and a clear blue sky. That made for more fun outdoor activity — and much better pictures.

January 6
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: It’s so much fun to meet and hang out with people IRL after getting to know them on Twitter and other social media.

January 5
Today I was asked to contribute a guest blog post to another business’ website, about the importance of actually connecting with people on social channels and getting to know them, because I “positively excel” at this. So that was cool.

January 4
Subscribing to Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources email newsletter has been the best decision I’ve made so far this year. I love how it’s written, and love how it sums up the day in media news in one fell swoop.

January 3
This morning, instead of spending my commute scanning through Facebook and Twitter, et al, I decided to bring a magazine and read. The e-break felt good, even if it was only for the morning.

January 2
Tonight I made myself a (healthy) home-cooked dinner for the second night in a row. Can’t remember the last time I did that. Some protein, some vegetables, no carbs, and a little fruit for dessert. Go me!

January 1
For some reason, I needed to clear some space on my old computer so I could export the data to my new one. That forced me to plum the depths of my hard drive’s memory, and that allowed me to discover some old, old files I’d forgotten about or didn’t realize I still had: photos and videos of my friends’ kids, emails from ex-girlfriends and resignation letters from old jobs, work I’d done, music I’d never listened to, old movie trailers, and more. Sure, I deleted some of it, but it was a fun trip through time.

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5 Responses to “The 2017 Happiness Project”

  1. craigdesbrisay April 5, 2017 at 9:17 pm #

    This is a really fun initiative, Martin! Enjoying your updates!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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