The 2018 Happiness Project

2 Jan

I don’t know much, but I know this: You can’t plan to be happy.

That said, you can make an effort to be mindful and appreciate good things that happen and that make you smile. And those things will make you happier. It’s a simple idea, but it’s an effective one.

And being happy has many benefits — not least of which is that nobody wants to hang around with a perpetual Debbie Downer. But all kidding aside, being happy has multiple health benefits, including increased strength and decreased stress, a stronger immune system, and reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Scientific evidence also suggests that happiness can help you unlock creativity, improve your memory, and make you more productive. So, it’s really not a trite or superficial (or sexist) thing when someone wishes you a “Happy New Year” or “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Holiday,” or suggests you smile more. They’re actually wishing you increased wellness and productivity.

To be sure, celebrating positive things — even the smallest ones — doesn’t mean ignoring legit causes of concern or living in a bubble. And yes, there are times when finding something to smile about can be really tough. But after two years of documenting happy things in my own life, I can say with confidence that there is good in every day. Even the seemingly bad ones.

In 2015, I began my “Happiness Project” and brought it back last year. The concept is simple: At the end of every day, I document one thing (big or small) that I was grateful for or that made me smile. It was a successful experiment, with the theory proven both times — especially last year: Despite the dark and turbulent events, and plenty of things that made me and many others unhappy, I was able to maintain a positive attitude and could then look back on fun times more than frustrating ones.

(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.)

So that’s why I’m continuing my “Project” this year: Because I don’t know if 2018 will be any better than last year was, but I’d like it to be.

As the Dalai Lama once said, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” This year, I’m empowering myself, and anyone else who’d like to join me, to take action and make things better by celebrating the good in every day.

And so, with that, here’s what made me happy in 2018.

August 18
TBD

August 17
It rained a bit on my way home tonight, but when I got off the train, there was a really nice, big rainbow in the sky. So that made it all worth it.

August 16
Maureen was back in the office today after her week-and-a-half-long vacation and week-long work trip. So that was nice.

August 15
Took me more than seven years, but tonight I finally saw The Book of Mormon (here in Boston). Funny show, good cast, worth seeing, even if I’d already heard the cast album many times.

August 14
Decided to hit Snooze an extra time this morning, and was running a little bit late. So it made me happy that, when I got to the office, Melissa wasn’t there yet and was also running late. Guess we all needed the extra time today.

August 13
I was the featured guest for #ContentChat today, talking about ghostwriting in a corporate setting, and it went really well! It was a fast-moving and engaging conversation, with no subtweets about how we ignored anyone, and I think I shared some good insights as well. #patsselfonback

August 12
Had dinner at the brand new Smoke Shop location at Assembly Row after seeing BlacKkKlansman (excellent!) tonight. Really nice place! And the butter cake (not crack) was yummmmmy.

August 11
The rain held off and didn’t affect our enjoyment of the Cheap Trick and Def Leppard and Journey concert at Fenway tonight. And we didn’t sit in our purchased seats; again, Dawn and I snuck into a different section, and tonight we were literally front-row center. (Amazing!) And then I rode in an elevator with Eliza Dushku (among others), before walking through the Red Sox locker room and tunnels and dugout to get back out onto the field. So it was a very cool night.

August 10
Tonight I was happy that, for a change, and especially after working from home all day, I decided to eat at Comella’s instead of taking my dinner to go.

August 9
So much fun tonight seeing Jimmy Buffett at Fenway with Dawn. We snuck into the front section and never got kicked out, so we had much better seats than the ones I’d bought. And we had good drinks — even if they were Ketelades, not margaritas. And the music was great, of course. And the folks we were next to were cool (and they bought us drinks). And the weather was perfect. And it was just a really good night.

August 8
When I got to Government Center station tonight, there was a (mostly empty) D-line train waiting for me. Then, when I got to Chestnut Hill Ave., a B-line train came right up. Perfect timing in both cases.

August 7
It was near impossible to watch the promo film Have It All: The Movie tonight and not be smiling or moving your feet or tapping your fingers or singing along. Man, that Jason Mraz sure is a good guy with a big heart. What a fun night.

August 6
Today I was happy I bought a pack of AA batteries and kept them at my desk, because the battery in my mouse died and hardly anyone else was in the office to help. So I was thankful that I could fend for myself.

August 5
Was in the mood to revisit fun.’s music today while walking around the reservoir, so I did. I really wish those guys would reunite and release another album.

August 4
Finally got around to reading the latest Improper Bostonian today and learned of a local band called Ripe. So I checked them out and really like their sound! That made for a good sounding Saturday afternoon.

August 3
Was able to snag a last-minute ticket to the Red Sox–Yankees game tonight (in the Loge section right behind home plate), so I went, and it was awesome: On a beautiful summer Friday night, Rick Porcello pitched a one-hit, one-run complete game (only 86 pitches!) and the Sox beat the Yankees 4-1 in just two hours and 15 minutes. Wow!

August 2
Streetwise Chicago finally published its list of the 20 most inspiring Chicagoans today, so I was really happy for Andrew and happy to help spread the word about his inclusion on the list.

August 1
Got out of work early enough, and my D-line ride was quick enough, and a B-line train was waiting for me when I got to Chestnut Hill Ave., so I got home tonight with more than enough time to run over and drop off some clothes at the cleaners, which will now be ready for pickup this weekend, instead of dropping off the clothes over the weekend and waiting a week to pick them up. #FTW

July 31
A busy day at work today meant things moved faster than usual, despite my being the only person physically in my area of the office and it being a quiet day there.

July 30
Today was National Cheesecake Day, so natch, I went to Cheesecake Factory to try their brand new Cinnabon cheesecake. And it was good! Yum.

July 29
Tonight I played MacGyver and used two chip clips to keep my shades up while the window was open, so I could get some fresh air in my apartment. It was a much better, and much more successful, solution than my failed attempt yesterday using masking tape.

July 28
One great thing about having someone cleaning my apartment every two weeks is that it’s giving me incentive to de-clutter and purge, and refresh some stuff I’ve been using for a while. So today, for example, I threw out some books, moved by desktop computer to the basement, and bought new pots and pans.

July 27
Today was the first day of the alternate commute (thank you, BU Bridge construction) and I was happy that all went smoothly. I even got a seat on the C line on the way into work.

July 26
The episode itself wasn’t great, given that it was the series finale and all, but I really kinda liked how Nashville ended tonight, with a fourth-wall-breaking performance of the show’s signature song, “A Life That’s Good” (at the Ryman, natch), and all kinds of former cast members and the crew coming on stage to sing. That was really nice, and surprising.

July 25
Tonight I saw the stage musical version of Moulin Rouge, and was happy that it was actually pretty good. I mean, not great, but not as awful as it could have been. The sets and costumes were incredible, and there were some very impressive performances. So I really enjoyed it and don’t regret seeing it at all.

July 24
I was happy to have missed the train this morning and that there was a long enough gap between that one and the next one, because it gave me enough time to run over and buy lottery tickets for tonight and tomorrow.

July 23
I was actually happy the muffins at Grassroots weren’t fresh this morning, because I really didn’t need one of those for breakfast today, and I was kinda planning on buying one.

July 22
It rained a bit more than expected today, but thankfully, I was able to make it to Eggsperience for breakfast, and then get out to Logan Square to see the Greetings from Chicago mural (and take some photos, natch), before it really poured. Missed the downpours twice. Phew!

July 21
David Boone made some of the most delicious steak for dinner tonight out in Michigan City. The marinade he used … Yum. Let’s just say I ate a lot of that steak.

July 20
The rain held off today, mostly, so we were able to go to the Cubs game at Wrigley and then the Lone Bellow show out in Evanston without getting too wet — except during the last song, “Then Came the Morning,” which was actually a perfect song for it to be raining. So that was really cool, and the definite highlight of the concert.

July 19
Just blown away tonight by how good Eighth Grade is. Wow. Such a special movie that I’ll be thinking about and talking about for a long time.

July 18
Got out of work at a decent hour tonight (i.e., before 5:30) so I could get home and have a productive evening making dinner for myself and packing and running the dishwasher and doing a load of laundry and applying for a job and folding/putting away some other clean clothes and watching the last episode of Nashville season two and first episode of Captain Underpants.

July 17
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is, not surprisingly, a not-good movie. But Lily James made it worth it. She’s definitely crush-worthy.

July 16
A&E aired a documentary tonight all about the TV show Freaks and Geeks. So good. I really need to re-watch that series.

July 15
After seeing the excellent new movie The King today, I decided to stick around Kendall Square and grab some dinner. Good choice: I found a seat at the bar at the Smoke Shop and had a delicious BBQ brisket sandwich. Yum!

July 14
Drove out to Dedham for, among other reasons, cheap gas, but my preferred gas station was all out. Bummer. But then, on my way home, I found another station selling it for basically the same cheap price, and they had plenty. Score!

July 13
Today was the 33rd anniversary of Live Aid (holy crap!), and someone I follow tweeted a link to Queen’s performance from that day. I hadn’t watched that in so long. It’s amazing.

July 12
Nice surprise tonight when I went to J.P. Licks for ice cream and got it for free because I’d earned enough points to have a reward waiting in my account.

July 11
Fun night out for dinner tonight with work folks to welcome some new salespeople and prep for an all-day meeting tomorrow.

July 10
Got home tonight to find my copy of Obama: An Oral History 2009–2017 waiting for me. Really looking forward to reading this one.

July 9
I was tired tonight, so it made me happy to go to bed “early” (before 10pm).

July 8
After about a week of looking, tonight I finally found a loofah bath brush. Now I can scratch my itchy back and get rid of some of the peeling skin back there. Good times …

July 7
The 90-plus-degree heat wave and high humidity finally broke, and left us with a beautiful, sunny day today with temps in the 70s and low humidity. Perfect for a long walk around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. Can’t remember the last time I did four laps, like I did today.

July 6
Thank God for the Coolidge Corner parking lot, which has four-hour-limit parking meters, meaning I could park there, go downtown by T to the AMC Boston Common theater to see a movie, and come back to grab my car, all before the time had expired.

July 5
After a late night last night, I was happy to have “worked” from home today.

July 4
Great night out on the Charles for Fourth of July festivities: Year 8 meeting up with Justine and Nick, cooler weather than earlier in the day, good music, excellent fireworks, and a cool photo to remember it. (Also, unrelated: #PlaneBae. Ha!)

July 3
Got confirmation today after a minor scare that I did not, in fact, pick up lice in Michigan City. Phew!

July 2
Walked the 606 this morning, and that was really nice. About 5.5 miles total of nice. Brought my earbuds so I could have a soundtrack, and that helped. As did the fact that, thankfully, it was about 5-10 degrees cooler than it had been the past couple days. Bonus happy thing: When I got home tonight, there was a card from Abby at camp waiting for me. My first ever piece of mail from her from camp, in three summers of her going. And this one was unsolicited, unprovoked; I hadn’t even written to her yet. So that was great.

July 1
The morning swim in Lake Michigan today was so perfect. The water was the right temperature, and it felt so good on yet another hot day.

June 30
So glad I decided to go out for the Fourth of July weekend festivities in Michigan City. Such a fun (abeit super hot) day. Drunken Salami, swims in the lake, fireworks on the beach, a bonfire … all the traditions were still intact. And a great time was had by all.

June 29
Decided not to pay for “premium” seats when I bought my plane tickets for Chicago, so when I got to the gate today and they assigned me a seat for the flight, it ended up being an exit row seat. Even though it was a middle seat, I still had plenty of leg room. Score!

June 28
Melissa was in the office today, as were a couple other folks who hadn’t been there earlier in the week, so that made the office a more lively place to be — relative to the three days prior, when it was very quiet.

June 27
Took a risk and tried a “new” place for lunch today, the Legal Fish Bowl at Faneuil Hall. And it was a good meal, actually. Probably healthier than what else I would have eaten, too.

June 26
Good time tonight at Uncle Drew. That movie is a lot of fun.

June 25
I really like how having my apartment cleaned every two weeks has made me care a bit more about keeping my place tidy and (more) organized.

June 24
Birthday month is fun: Today I probably used the last of my special offers and discounts, earning myself a free dinner and cheap(er) clothing.

June 23
Always nice to get a good deal: Bought three shirts today at Banana Republic (which fit very well, btw), and because they were on sale for both 50% off and an additional 10% off, and because I got 10% off for using a Gap credit card, and because I had a $10 reward, they cost me about $40 — total.

June 22
After years of going to Comella’s for takeout, tonight I was surprised with a random, small discount because I’m such a regular customer. So that was nice.

June 21
Talked to Abby tonight before she leaves for camp on Saturday. Glad I caught her at the right time, when she’d be in a talkative mood.

June 20
Though I was disappointed, overall, by Jagged Little Pill, I thought the end of Act I was very well staged with a great arrangement of the song “Forgiven” (by Tom Kitt). And my seats were really good, too.

June 19
Well, it looks like I’m going back to Chicago again sooner than expected and will be there for the annual Michigan City holiday weekend festivities this year. Woo hoo!

June 18
Was notified by Ticketmaster today that I was selected for a spot in the Hamilton Verified Fan lottery to buy tickets for when the show comes to Boston — and in the first group when they go on sale, too. No guarantees, of course, but that’s a good first step to being in the room where it happens again.

June 17
The parking gods were with me today: Wanted to make a quick stop at the Barnes & Noble in the Pru, and easily found a spot right at the corner of Comm Ave and Dartmouth. Score!

June 16
Night two of Zac Brown Band at Fenway Park was a lot of fun, and not just because I was with Dawn — not solo like the night before (the annoying rando who bought my extra ticket for last night’s show via Craigslist showed up drunk and, thankfully, got escorted out by security before the show even started). Another great setlist tonight, which included some fun covers. Another beautiful, perfect weather night. And amusing seat neighbors — one of which invited us to her wedding in two months (and put all the details in my phone). All in all, an awesome weekend of live music.

June 15
Left the office in time today to be one of the first 50 customers at the brand new Roots store on Newbury Street. And it’s super nice. Staff was cool, too (no surprise) — regional manager Sean gave me a full tour, and Natick co-manager Des told me all about her new store, opening in a couple weeks. But equally fun: I bought some shorts, a tshirt, and some socks — and got a beach towel and cool water bottle in a swag bag, plus a leather pouch that they embossed for me — and it cost me less than $14 because I had a gift card from Xmas, and got a $10 card for being one of the first 50 folks in the door (it was in the pouch). Sweet!

June 14
With a busy weekend ahead, I was happy I decided to see The Incredibles 2 tonight. Also making me happy: it was a predominately kid-free crowd.

June 13
Went to an event tonight for the launch of Allen Gannett’s new book, The Creative Curve. So that was fun. Glad I went.

June 12
There was a downed wire or something this morning, so the Green Line wasn’t running between Kenmore and Government Center, and my train actually ended up stopping and letting people off at BU Central. Shuttle buses were slow to arrive, and it was a real mess. What made me happy about this, though, is that it was a beautiful morning (and I was in no rush to get to the office), so I was able to enjoy a nice three-mile walk to work.

June 11
Never expected to enjoy the movie Tag as much as I did, but it was silly fun and I laughed a lot.

June 10
Bumped into Ken Gordon today in Newton Centre, and spur of the moment, we had brunch together. I like spontaneous things like that.

June 9
Baked by Melissa cupcakes are little bites of happiness. Today, I had a few.

June 8
Lots of things today made me happy, so it’s hard to pick just one thing: Beautiful weather made for a great walk along the High Line and then a walk all around other parts of New York, I learned that Roots is opening a store on Newbury Street next week, I ate at a restaurant called Bubby’s and had some of the most delicious pancakes ever, then I followed that up with some yummy Ooey Gooey Butter Cake ice cream from Ample Hills, nice dinner with Robin, fun time seeing Mean Girls, and more. Today was a very fun day.

June 7
What can I say about a night like tonight? Springsteen on Broadway is just an amazing, life-affirming experience. Top notch storytelling and musicianship, and the sound quality in the theater was incredible. Some of those songs have never sounded better live. This show was worth every penny, every ounce of hype, every day waiting, every frustration to get tickets. And then some. And, as if that wasn’t good enough, I got to the theater early enough to get some great pics of Bruce when he arrived, then got some more good ones when he left. All in all, just a fantastic birthday eve.

June 6
After three other failed attempts, today I finally found a way in to write the birthday blog post I wanted to write this year. And after writing and editing and editing and editing some more, I think it turned out alright. I don’t do it very often anymore, so it always feels good when I publish a new blog post.

June 5
Got to work today to find my desk decorated for my birthday, since Maureen and Melissa will both be out tomorrow. Cupcakes and cards, too!

June 4
Finally found someone today to buy my extra tickets to Zac Brown Band next Friday night at Fenway Park. Phew!

June 3
A super productive weekend came to a close today with, among other things, my judging of two categories in the Content Marketing Awards. Good to get that done, finally.

June 2
Purging always feels good, and today was no exception: I got rid of a ton of old magazines that had been cluttering up my apartment. Many I had no idea why I’d been saving this long; if I had planned to read them eventually, clearly I was never going to get around to that. So suffice it to say, this purge opened up some table and floor space I hadn’t seen in quite some time.

June 1
Had my apartment cleaned today — like, legit cleaned — for the first time in about six years, and it was great. Looking forward to coming home to a clean place, and that clean smell, every two weeks from here on out.

May 31
Today I found a great deal for a room at a very cool hotel in NYC next week, via HotelTonight. More than 50% off! Sweet. 🙂

May 30
Had to stop at the Star Market on Comm Ave. on the way home tonight, and usually that means waiting a while for a train to pick me up at Packard’s Corner when I’m done. But not tonight; one was pulling into Babcock St. when I was walking out of the store, giving me just enough time to make it to the stop so I wouldn’t miss that train. Phew!

May 29
Was expecting the movie screening tonight (Adrift) to last two full hours. But thankfully, the movie was only 90 minutes long. Also thankfully, it wasn’t bad.

May 28
Went to Stop & Shop in Dedham today and found the elusive Perdue chicken burgers. Bought two packages. So that’ll cover four dinners for the next month or so.

May 27
So much fun to wake up this morning and have all three kids here.

May 26
It was a very warm day in Boston today, and humid, too — but thankfully, the rain held off and didn’t ruin the plans Mitzi, Jason, the kids, and I had.

May 25
After work today and before dinner, I went on my first walk of the season around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir. Perfect afternoon for it. I love that it’s summer again.

May 24
I was waiting for something from some coworkers, and fearful that it wouldn’t arrive till midday tomorrow. But thankfully, I heard back around 3:30 this afternoon. Which will make tomorrow a bit easier — and hopefully, earlier too.

May 23
With Maureen in San Fran today and Melissa working from home, and the weather as nice as it was, I decided, for a change, to walk over to Panera, grab lunch, and sit outside to eat. And it was really nice; a perfect day to do it.

May 22
The door of the B-line train closed right when I got to Park Street and ran up to it tonight. But then, thankfully, it reopened, and the train wasn’t all that crowded, so I was able to get a good spot and get home without having to wait or cram on.

May 21
Wore some brand new shoes to work today, and I was smart for a change: Decided to bring some Band-Aids to put on the back of my ankles so they didn’t get all irritated when I was walking around. Definitely helped.

May 20
Tonight, after watching The Good Fight, I tweeted about it with Deborah. And then one of the actors replied to me. Twice! So, that was cool.

May 19
What a difference folding the clean laundry, putting stuff away, and doing some light cleaning makes. My apartment is noticeably less cluttered and more clean right now than it was 24 hours ago.

May 18
Today I heard from a former Staples coworker, who told me, “Do you know there is a piece of content you wrote back in the day that is still the most highly viewed of all times. It’s an SEO dream.” Didn’t take long to figure out which piece of content it was, and even though it wasn’t a surprise, I still thought this was a pretty cool thing to know.

May 17
It was great to see Rebecca and Ron tonight, but more fun was when Ron let not-yet-three-year-old Daniel try his coffee ice cream — and he loved it so much that he basically finished the entire cone! That kid got a nice buzz on, and soon he was running around all over the place. #goodtimes

May 16
I don’t often say this, but I think this year, I’m happy the TV season is ending and the shows I watch are taking a break. Riverdale, for example. After tonight’s season finale, I may be turning off my series recording.

May 15
My T car this morning was packed — packed!! — so I was happy to have my solo seat, and not have any reason to give it up all the way into the city.

May 14
Had my first Toasted S’moreo of the season at Emack & Bolio’s tonight. Mmmmm …

May 13
At the risk of sounding like a cruel uncle, it was so sweet to hear that Marc was sad and crying this afternoon because he missed me after I left to head back to Boston, and then he started to tear up again when we FaceTimed. I’m very lucky to have such good relationships with those kids.

May 12
What awesome news to wake up to today: A couple days after being canceled by Fox, Brooklyn Nine-Nine was picked up by NBC. Woo hoo!

May 11
‘Twas another excellent night for an after-work walk, so tonight I had a nice stroll from Post Office Square all the way to the Blandford St. T stop, with a quick bite to eat along the way. Great way to end the week.

May 10
John Mayer and the Dave Matthews Band (and Selena Gomez) dropped new singles today, and they’re great!

May 9
Celtics won tonight and advance to the Eastern Conference finals! Woo hoo! (Says the guy who only recently joined the basketball bandwagon.)

May 8
I changed my LinkedIn settings today to show that I was actively looking for a new job, and within an hour or two, I received a relevant and somewhat interesting inquiry from a recruiter. So maybe that site does work after all.

May 7
Damn, The Good Fight was good this week.

May 6
Today was the Walk for Hunger, and I was meeting Farrah and Barry for brunch right along the route. (Stupid us.) So, thank God I was able to find a parking spot pretty easily and didn’t have to drive around the block too many times, or park too far away from the restaurant.

May 5
Tonight I was happy that, when I was crossing the street not in a crosswalk, a car I didn’t see coming stopped in time and didn’t hit me. Whoops! And also: Phew!

May 4
Today was Abby’s 10th birthday, and I was happy my video and blog post for her turned out well, and were well received, and most importantly, that I got to FaceTime with Abby this morning before I went to work and she went to school.

May 3
Today I sent out issue two of the Workflow, our quarterly practice newsletter, which was our first global issue. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d be here to see the finished product, but I am and it came out well, and so far, it’s been well received. So, nice job, me!

May 2
The weather today was awesome: Temperatures in the 80s (!!!) and sunny. So after work, I went on my first long walk of the year, through the Common and then down Boylston and Newbury Streets, then grabbed some dinner and had some ice cream (natch) before heading home. I love nights like this. So happy they’re back.

May 1
Saw Tully tonight and really liked it. It was surprising and well acted and funny and just wonderful.

April 30
Finished my rewatch of season one of Nashville tonight, after just over a week. (Thank you, Spotify/Hulu package deal!) It was a much more music-focused show back then, and I enjoyed hearing some of the good tunes from that season again, not to mention seeing some sights that I’ve now seen IRL. On to season two!

April 29
Listened to my second episode of The West Wing Weekly podcast today (“Life on Mars”), and really enjoyed it. Gotta catch up on the others, and now I want to re-watch the show itself from the beginning as well.

April 28
Today was the first really awesome day of the year, weather-wise: Temps were in the low 70s, and the sun was shining. And despite that, I was able to walk into Cabot’s tonight at peak dinner time, and find a few empty seats at the counter. Sweet!

April 27
Worked from home today, and for a change, it felt like a very productive day. So, that was good.

April 26
Got my tax refund check in the mail today. Always nice to have some extra cash in my checking account.

April 25
The Red Sox won tonight, ending their losing streak. Hopefully they’ll start a winning one again tomorrow.

April 24
Took the afternoon off to go see an advance screening of Avengers: Infinity War, and it was worth it. First half or two-thirds is a hell of a lot of fun, with a lot of good lines. Then it gets a bit serious and heavy and epic and big. Glad I saw it before the reviews and spoilers were out there, so I don’t have to avoid anything. Can’t wait for part two next year to see how it all wraps up!

April 23
They made me a good salad at Hale & Hearty today (good mix of ingredients, perfect amount of dressing), so for the first time in a while, I ate the whole thing.

April 22
Drove right by a good parking spot when I was en route to the Station Diner this morning, so how nice that after I drove around the block and came around the corner again, it was still available.

April 21
Rewatched Stronger tonight (which I’d purchased for just $5 earlier in the week — score!). Even on a second watching, that movie remains so good, and emotionally affecting. A shame it wasn’t recognized with more end-of-the-year awards last year.

April 20
Maureen and Flynn brought in Kane’s Donuts today. Damn, those are good.

April 19
Thank God the rain stopped. It was coming down kinda hard when I went in to work this morning, but on the way home, it was clear sailing. Phew!

April 18
Today I was happy I had some leftover tuna fish from when I worked at home on Friday, so I could have a quick dinner after work and didn’t have to cook anything.

April 17
Put a question out to the entire global practice at work for our newsletter and got a lot of really fun answers back. Which will make for another good read in this issue.

April 16
My favorite Boston Marathon story today: Desiree Linden won the women’s race, by more than four minutes, even after stopping just over an hour into the race to wait while Shalane Flanagan went to the bathroom. That’s exceptionally good sportsmanship … and proof that sometimes, karma works in good ways.

April 15
Second day in a row of delicious, fresh crumb cake at Lenny’s. Mmmmm …

April 14
Good time babysitting/chauffeuring the kids today while Mitzi and Jason were at a bat mitzvah. Easy peasy lemon squeasy. Thank God for no injuries or tantrums.

April 13
Despite a late start, and a stop for dinner (at Rein’s, natch), I made it down to Mitzi’s house today in time to see all the kids before they went to bed.

April 12
Someone at work today ordered lunch from Sam Lagrassa’s for a meeting, and despite there being leftovers, I took the nicer, warmer weather (and the fact that the leftovers weren’t what I liked) as a cue for me to go for a walk and get my own warm, fresh roast beef sandwich from Sam’s. Totally worth it.

April 11
After a frustrating writing day yesterday, I was happy today when Maureen told me to hold off on writing something until after she got more input for it. I needed that break from the project.

April 10
Can’t remember the last time I went to Casa Razdora for lunch, so the chicken parm sandwich I had today was extra delicious.

April 9
The movie itself isn’t great, but it was fun to watch Chicago get destroyed tonight in the new movie Rampage.

April 8
So, after a couple weeks of looking for a lost sock, today I found it — under the sheet on my bed. Good thing I decided to include it in my laundry today.

April 7
Hooray for Passover being over! Was nice to have pasta again tonight.

April 6
Today I was happy I decided to — and that it was so easy to — get tickets to the Lone Bellow’s show in Chicago this summer. Now I have another concert, and trip, to look forward to this summer.

April 5
Fantastic show by Anderson East tonight at the Paradise. So glad I decided to go to this one. Been really really loving his music lately.

April 4
At 4:30 or so, the rain was coming down pretty hard. And I didn’t have a hood on my jacket or an umbrella with me (because it wasn’t supposed to rain). Thankfully, by the time I left the office at 6:30, the rain had stopped, so I was able to stay dry on my walk from the office to the movie theater. Phew!

April 3
Read about half of the article about Generation X in Boston Magazine this morning over breakfast, and one line really stuck out to me: “The only hack for experience is time.” Yup. So true.

April 2
Thanks to the fact that I woke up earlier than usual today (stupid Passover) to have breakfast at home before I left for work, and the fact that I was smart and prepared my lunch and dinner the night before, I managed to get to work closer to “on time” than I’ve been in a long time.

April 1
Was kinda surprised by how impressed I was by the live “concert” version of Jesus Christ Superstar tonight. Visually, this was a very cool show to watch, and there were some great performances — especially Brandon Victor Dixon’s.

March 31
So happy I got my car washed (outside and in) today. It really needed that.

March 30
Putting my niece to bed and spending quality time talking with her as she falls asleep is one of my favorite things to do.

March 29
Thank God for the public bathroom at TJ Maxx on Newbury Street. I really needed to go before I got on the T tonight — because I was stupid and didn’t go after eating dinner — and that one was not only perfectly located, but open to the public and clean.

March 28
Got a couple of nice shoutouts on a global all-hands call at work today — and didn’t have to present a slide, either, which, up until the a couple hours before the call, was something I was supposed to do.

March 27
Saw a quick clip of Jeremy Jordan singing “She Used to Be Mine” at Miscast today, and WOW! I need to hear the rest of this.

March 26
Any day I see a new Wes Anderson movie is a good day, and today was one of those days. Really enjoyed Isle of Dogs tonight.

March 25
Really happy I decided to see Love, Simon today. What a sweet, well made movie. Just wonderful.

March 24
I didn’t attend it in person, but damn, the March for Our Lives (in Boston and across the country, but especially the main one in D.C.) sure was impressive and inspiring today.

March 23
Today I was happy about what I didn’t have for lunch: Chicken and broccoli from Viga. In a moment of weakness, I walked over there to get that for lunch. But thankfully, they were out of it.

March 22
Today, for the first time ever in all my times going to Las Vegas, there was no wait to get through security at the airport. None. And, just as cool, TSA was doing pre-check for everyone, even those like me who don’t have it, which meant no need to remove belts or shoes, or take anything out of bags. Just drop stuff on the conveyor and walk right through. Awesome.

March 21
So this was very cool: One of the IBM teams was having a party this afternoon, and Paul Rudd was there. So I got a photo with him … and as I was walking away, I asked him if Captain America dies in Infinity War (as is rumored). He laughed, said he couldn’t say, but that he appreciated the “very nice attempt.” Ha!

March 20
Tonight was a great night to walk up and down the Strip, weather- and crowd-wise. Even better was that I did it with Monina, who I was finally hanging out with again after two and a half years.

March 19
Short version: After many years, I finally got the chance to meet Chester Bullock IRL today because we were both at the THINK conference in Las Vegas. Funny how this was the first time we’d met offline, but it didn’t feel that way at all.
Longer version: Got a DM from Chester Bullock asking if I was at THINK because he thought he just saw me walking by. I said yes, I was, then backtracked and realized I was nowhere near where he was. But it put us in touch, and after, like, seven or eight years, we were finally able to meet IRL. And it turns out the guy he thought was me was a bit older. So the takeaway was, apparently, I age well. Ha!

March 18
First night in Vegas and I managed to turn $30 into $105 in less than 15 minutes sitting at the Blackjack table. Four bets, four wins, and then I decided to walk away with that extra $75 in my pocket before my luck changed. Sweet! Go me!

March 17
Today I gave Sam (and Scott) a tour of Brandeis. His review? “Campus is nice,” which, according to Scott, is high praise. So I guess, despite the fact that I haven’t been a student there in almost 22 years, and a lot has changed since then, I still know how to give a good tour.

March 16
Today, after weeks of back and forth, I finally (finally!) got the approval I needed to go to Las Vegas for THINK 2018 next week. That wasn’t the good news, though. The good news was that, despite the last minute timing of the trip, by eschewing the online travel system and calling AMEX travel services instead, I managed to get better than expected flights and a reservation at Mandalay Bay, which is ground zero for nearly all the conference activity I need to be at. Phew! #glasshalffull

March 15
Got a warm, fresh-from-the-oven croissant at Pret a Manger when I stopped in for breakfast this morning on the way into work. Mmmmm …

March 14
Damn, the sky this morning was blue. What a difference a day — or rather, just a few hours — made.

March 13
That thing where a friend suggests you to a Canadian news channel that wants to interview someone in Boston about the day’s snow storm. (Like they don’t have snow in Canada?) So that’s what I did tonight, live via FaceTime. So random. Though, points to me for wearing a Roots hoodie!

March 12
Today was that first work day after we moved our clocks forward, and even though I was tired during most of it, walking out of the office at 5:30 and having it still be light out kinda sorta made it all worth it.

March 11
All caught up on the first two episodes of The Good Fight season two now. Damn, is that a good show.

March 10
As I was driving to lunch today, I realized that I didn’t have enough quarters to feed the meter for an hour. But then, when I pulled into the lot at Panera, I found a spot with a broken meter. So I didn’t need quarters, anyway. #FTW

March 9
After a bit of an annoying day, I was happy to get an email at 5:15 with more info about a job I’m interested in, after about a month of waiting for it.

March 8
Following the end of Making the Marketer today, I was able to overshoot the street by a couple blocks, stop at Baked by Melissa, be indecisive for a while, and get on an earlier than expected express train out of Grand Central, which wasn’t crowded, and whose first stop was White Plains. Thank you, yesterday’s snow storm, for making the trains run on a more random and unpredictable schedule today, and thank you, luck, for being in my favor.

March 7
Had a fun time out with the IBM Workday marketing #squad tonight at the rooftop bar at the Kimberly hotel. It’s always a good time when we get together.

March 6
There were good, doughy, New York bagels out for breakfast today at the IBM Making the Marketer event. Yum.

March 5
Saw Escape to Margaritaville tonight, and had a great time! Was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Also, it was pretty cool to meet Mike O’Malley and Greg Garcia (the show’s writers) afterwards, and get a picture with them.

March 4
Despite some films and people I wanted to win not winning, I really enjoyed the Oscars show tonight. Especially seeing how great Jennifer Garner looked. Wow!

March 3
There was delicious, local, New Jersey crumb cake at the post-service Kiddush at Judah’s bar mitzvah. Sweet! Yum!

March 2
Was driving down to New Jersey today in the storm, and with downed trees and power lines everywhere, not to mention awful traffic thanks to overturned trucks on the Tappan Zee, I was happy to have Mitzi and Jason’s house where it was, and to stay there for the night. Surprise sleepover!

March 1
Today, in two separate instances, I received photos from coworkers at events that were really good, and showed posed, happy people. Not the typical dark, back of heads, out of focus, unhappy/unaware people shots I typically get. So that was nice, and helpful. I could use those.

February 28
Worked late tonight, so I stopped off at Boloco for dinner, then walked down Boylston St. to JP Licks to get some Thin Mint ice cream on its last day. The flavor was all gone, but then I learned (via the email receipt) that my dinner had been free (thank you, credits on the Boloco app!), so it made the stop-off worth it. And I did get a bit of exercise in on an unseasonably warm evening too. So it was a good night, after all.

February 27
Today, a silly little tweet by me about the broken Keurig machine at work turned into a brand new Nescafé machine for the office — and some hot chocolate pods, too, because Nescafé actually listened and saw that’s what I like to drink. Bravo to them!

February 26
Learned today that I was getting a bonus for good work in 2017. Probably a bit undeserved, given how much work was actually done, but nice to receive just the same.

February 25
Don’t know if it was the crap weather or the end of school vacation week or something else, but oh man, were the parking gods on my side today. Everywhere I went, I found a good spot right away. Everywhere.

February 24
Had the Thin Mint ice cream at JP Licks tonight for the first time. Wow! That’s some of the best mint ice cream I’ve ever had. Shame it’s only around till end of the month.

February 23
Today I was grateful that tickets for Jimmy Buffett’s show this summer at Fenway Park were sold on RedSox.com instead of Ticketmaster.com, because for some reason, IBM has blocked access to Ticketmaster’s website from computers on the work network. And yes, because I had access to buy them, I was able to buy (field) tickets to the show.

February 22
My flight from San Antonio was about an hour late in taking off, so I was very happy when I got to Houston and learned (after running to the gate) that my connecting flight was also delayed a bit. Which gave me a little time to grab a quick bite to eat before my nearly four-hour flight home. Phew!

February 21
I thought I was a bit rambling, but I was happy that when I watched a video of my talk tonight (thank you, Scott!), I actually did a pretty good job. Go me!

February 20
You know what didn’t make me happy today? That, when I was two-thirds of the way to the airport, I realized I’d forgotten the power cord for my laptop and the charger for my cell phone. But what did make me happy was knowing I had left early enough that I could have my Lyft driver go all the way home and then back to the airport, and I still had time to grab a quick bite before I got on my plane. Phew!

February 19
One nice thing about going in to work on a holiday is that the city isn’t crowded and the commute (both ways) is quicker and easier.

February 18
It’s so nice to have John Oliver back on my TV on Sunday nights.

February 17
Fun (and delicious) dinner tonight at Farrah and Barry’s because Scott, Rachael, and Kayla were in town.

February 16
That thing where it’s Friday and you walk in to Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up a quick breakfast and there’s no line.

February 15
The day after another mass shooting at a school, this video shared by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul brought all the smiles.

February 14
Had an all-day meeting in NYC today, but was happy I got to fit in a quick meetup with Chris Barrows during the lunch break, then a quick run over to DO (with Chris again) when the meeting ended early. ‘Twas a tasty and fun Valentine’s Day treat.

February 13
Got a room at the Times Square Hilton tonight with a decent view of the city, including the Empire State Building. Very cool.

February 12
Today I finally, finally, figured out how to send a mass email (or any email, really) using my work address and not get all the out-of-office auto-replies. Better late than never.

February 11
The nice thing about going out to eat solo is that I can usually walk in somewhere and grab a seat at the bar right away without having to wait. That’s what happened today, twice, when I went for brunch at the Station Diner and then for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.

February 10
It’s a good, albeit increasingly rare, week when the new issue of Entertainment Weekly arrives in my mailbox in time for me to read over Saturday lunch. Today was one of those good weeks.

February 9
Really enjoyed the interview with George Clooney on the second episode of David Leterman’s Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.

February 8
Had my annual performance review with Maureen today. Always good to know you’re liked and people think you’re doing a good job.

February 7
My Q&A with SPS DGTL went live today, in advance of my speaking gig there in a couple weeks. Was nice to get some good feedback from readers and others on the thoughts I shared.

February 6
I worked from home today, so I was happy to have an extra hour or so to sleep in this morning.

February 5
Booked my trip to NYC for next week today, and found some well timed flights, as well as what could be a fun hotel to stay at.

February 4
Despite the Patriots losing in the Super Bowl, it was a fun night of TV thanks to Justin Timberlake’s halftime show and the multiple Tide ads starring David Harbour.

February 3
Decided to replace my years-old and over-used George Foreman Grill today, and was happy to find that not only are the newer models diswasher-safe, but they were on sale at Target. Score!

February 2
Had to be at work for a 9 a.m. meeting today, and was happy when I made it there on time, with a few minutes to spare — even with a quick stop for breakfast on the way in.

February 1
While I was waiting for my dentist appointment this morning, Farrah walked in. Turns out she had an appointment at the same time. In all the years I’ve been going there, that’s never happened before. How funny!

January 31
So, Maureen had suggested yesterday that I try to speak with someone at Bluewolf (another IBM-acquired company) about their Twitter handle. And then today, during #SproutChat, someone from the Bluewolf social team randomly replied to one of my tweets! It was perfect timing. So now we’re gonna chat by phone tomorrow afternoon. I love those serendipitous connections that can only happen when you engage and interact on Twitter.

January 30
Caught Marc and Ian on FaceTime before they went to bed tonight. They’re funny; although they try to get off quickly so they can get back to whatever they were watching, they often do enjoy the novelty of the conversation.

January 29
May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers debuted on HBO tonight. It’s such a great movie. I’m so glad I watched it again (after seeing it for the first time in a theater last year).

January 28
I was happy to hear that Abby sat through and enjoyed another movie today (The Greatest Showman). Hopefully she’s over her fears about movies now.

January 27
Really glad I saw The Final Year, the documentary about Barack Obama’s final year in office and how his team tried to shore up his legacy around the world. It was a nice tribute to the work that went into those jobs, and the ambitious, forward-thinking, globally minded goals those people had.

January 26
Today I was thankful for the “mute conversation” option on Twitter. Again.

January 25
Justin Timberlake’s new collabo with Chris Stapleton, “Say Something,” is amazing! I really love it. And the video is so so cool. One take!

January 24
Had no idea what I wanted for dinner tonight. Ordinarily, I’d have gone out or done take out, and would have had something bad. But instead, I opted to find something at home and stay in. That was the right choice, and I’m happy I made it.

January 23
Oscar nominations were announced today, and among the surprises were six nominations for Phantom Thread and three for Baby Driver. Overall, the nominations were good, and they will likely make for a suspenseful ceremony for a change.

January 22
Today I pitched an idea for the event I’m speaking at next month, and the director of marketing liked it a lot! So now I don’t have to create a whole deck for my speaking gig.

January 21
Today I was happy I drove by a car wash and decided to turn around to get my car cleaned, because it really needed that.

January 20
What a coincidence … the morning after that BuzzFeed article ran, the Apple Store called to tell me it had a new iPhone battery waiting for me. So I finally had mine replaced today, and it’s made a noticeable difference so far.

January 19
Today, for the second time in three days, I was featured in an article about bad customer service. On Wednesday, it was one for the ANA about Finagle a Bagel. Today, it was a BuzzFeed article about Apple. I wish they were about better topics, but still, it’s pretty cool to be interviewed.

January 18
Two good things today: First, after an initial snafu, I managed to snag two field seats for both nights of Zac Brown Band at Fenway Park this summer — plus another pair of tickets for the Friday night show that I now have to sell. And then, a promising job lead came back into the picture, right on schedule.

January 17
Today, after months of work, I finally sent out the first issue of our brand new practice newsletter. It came out really well, and I’m very proud of it, so I’m glad the initial feedback has been positive. People seem to really like it!

January 16
Probably wasn’t the healthier option, but today I was happy that someone brought in bagels and cream cheese for a morning meeting, because the leftovers gave me a lunch option that allowed me to not go outside in the cold (to get a salad).

January 15
At the risk of TMI, I was dealing with a GI issue overnight, so today I was happy that it cleared up by the time I left for work in the morning. Phew!

January 14
Crazy exciting day for sports: First the Jaguars upset the Steelers (yay!), then the Vikings beat the Saints on a last-second touchdown pass. What an amazing moment that was.

January 13
Was nice to come home today and find the Shutterfly photo book I made of my 2017 photos waiting for me. Bonus was that it was sent via USPS, so it was held at the post office until I returned home and all my mail from the past week was delivered.

January 12
Something else to look forward to this year: I learned today that Zac Brown Band is coming back to Fenway Park this summer for a two-night stand. Hoping the ticket gods are smiling on me when those tix go on sale.

January 11
Dad came home from the hospital today, much more mobile than I ever expected him to be at this point.

January 10
One of my favorite things about visiting my folks is being able to listen to E Street Radio on Sirius when I’m driving my dad’s car, as I did today. Heard some great live performances from the archives. Very cool.

January 9
According to the doctor, dad’s surgery today went well. So, now he has a new knee, and hopefully, will be in a lot less pain than before. Let the recovery begin!

January 8
Thank God for the Xfinity X1 system, and the mobile app, which allows me to record something on my DVR and then watch it on my iPad when I’m on a plane. In today’s case, it was last night’s Golden Globes, which was great.

January 7
Wow! The Killers concert tonight was amazing, and a huge improvement over the last time I saw them live about 11 years ago. It was such a fun show.

January 6
Glad I saw Hostiles before I published my top films of the year list. It was great!

January 5
Since I didn’t learn till I was already on the T this morning that Maureen had decided to work from home, I decided to stop at Bruegger’s for a “good” breakfast, and was happy that I had someone make my bagel who was generous with the cream cheese and not the woman who is always so stingy.

January 4
On the day of the first big snowstorm of the season, the video in this tweet gave me a really big smile.

January 3
Learned Anderson East was going to be performing in Boston in April and was able to score two tickets to the show, all in about five minutes or less today thanks to Twitter and the Ticketmaster mobile app. Tickets were cheap, too: Just $17 each. Nice.

January 2
Surprise! Today, Justin Timberlake announced that he has a new album dropping on February 2, with the first single coming out this Friday. Woo hoo!

January 1
This morning, I was happy that when my smoke detector started to beep at around 6:45 a.m. to alert me it needed a new battery, that I had a 9-volt battery in my refrigerator, so I could shut up the detector, stop the beeping, and go back to sleep.

2 Responses to “The 2018 Happiness Project”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Happy Birthday to Me. Now It’s Time to Go. | Martin's Musings - June 7, 2018

    […] attitude, behind the scenes I feel like I’m just going through the motions, passing the time. I try to be happy every day, but I’m actually quite disengaged, bored, disappointed, tired, and frustrated. I doubt myself […]

  2. Let’s Not Forget These Early Days of 2018 (The Good Ones, Anyway) | Martin's Musings - June 29, 2018

    […] live (via FaceTime) by a Canadian news channel about the snow in Boston; that there were a lot of things that made me happy; that I got to spend time with some great people; and basically, that I tried to enjoy as much of […]

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