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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. Continue reading

After a Sucky 2016, I’m Ready to Work for a Better Year Ahead

30 Dec
Photo credit: Blake Richard Verdoorn/Unsplash.com

Photo credit: Blake Richard Verdoorn/Unsplash.com

What a year for a new year, right?

At this point it’s become a cliché, but that’s because, for the most part, 2016 really did suck.

There was the long, contentious, ugly, controversial election, which further divided an already highly partisan country, raised serious questions about Russian interference, and may have set us on a direction to a nuclear arms race, high anxiety, and worse. Included in this was all the fake news, the ignorance of facts and reality, and the many, many ridiculous twists and turns that were often unbelievable.

There was all that death. It hurt time and again to lose legends and those some of us grew up with, from music icons like Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Sharon Jones, and Glen Frey; to TV and movie favorites like Florence Henderson, Gene Wilder, Garry Marshall, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, and Alan Thicke; to history-makers like Muhammad Ali, Elie Wiesel, and John Glenn. Can’t forget Harambe, of course. Or Jim Delligatti, the creator of the Big Mac. And that’s not even counting friends who’ve lost family members and other loved ones. Perhaps it’s appropriate, then, that at the end of December, we also lost Robert Leo Hulseman, the inventor of the Red Solo Cup. Continue reading

Keeping Things in Perspective Made 2015 a Great Year

31 Dec

IMG_9182According to multiple reports, 2015 was a great year for the average human being. Well, I must be average because I did have a pretty great year.

Actually, all kidding aside, if there’s one good thing the article I linked to in that first paragraph does, it’s put the year into perspective. Yes, mass shootings, racism, terrorism, and other awful things dominated the headlines, from Charleston to Israel to Paris to Syria to San Bernardino to wherever Donald Trump was speaking. But let’s not forget, there was also much to celebrate: the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, the Patriots won the Super Bowl, and in many ways, quality of life for the considerable majority of the planet’s population actually improved this year.

Continue reading

47 Things I Will Remember About the Summer of 2015

4 Sep
Balanced Rock at Garden of the Gods

Photo credit: Martin Lieberman

Fact: Summers are too short.

Way too short. Even this summer, which feels like it’s ending a week later than usual.

That’s why we always feel compelled to cram so much into the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day every year.

The summer of 2015 was, for me, a bit of a whirlwind. A lot happened, some of it overwhelming, and I’m not 100% sure I even remember everything.

Let’s see: I finally made it to Colorado, finally visited my old summer camp, and finally rode on Codzilla. I worked out in a gym again. I saw a bunch of good movies, a couple good concerts, and even went to two Red Sox games. I walked around a lot. I dated. I ate. I met some Twitter friends IRL. I was happy. I checked a few more things off my 2015 to-do list. And there was more. I know there was more.

So, in an effort to make sure I have everything — or most of it, anyway — documented, here (in no particular order) are some of the things I’ll never forget about the summer of 2015. Continue reading

10 Thoughts About Blogging After 10 Years of Being a Blogger

1 Sep
Photo by Joey Gannon

Photo by Joey Gannon

Anybody who knows me knows that I can be a pretty lazy guy.

I’m not easily self-motivated, I don’t really work out at all (despite multiple attempts to start doing so), I go to the same places more often than I try new ones, I leave things till the last minute, and many nights, I’m happier to stay home rather than to put in the effort to go out.

All of which makes today a very important day. Continue reading

The 2015 Happiness Project

5 Jan

balloon-smiley-faceIn 2014, I was happy, and I’m committed to being happy in 2015 too.

So in an effort to demonstrate that every day has at least one thing to smile about (even the so-called bad days), I’ve decided to steal an idea from my friend Christoph Trappe, who spent the entire year last year posting happy thoughts, memories, or moments in one running blog post that he updated daily. It was a great way to show gratitude and remember what made each day so special for him.

That idea, like so many other good ideas, came from Twitter — specifically, a fellow tweeter named Krista, who did a similar thing in 2013. So you might say I’m now continuing the chain. Maybe next year somebody else will follow my lead.

Here’s the plan: For the next year, at the end of every day, I’m going to write down something 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, or something else. It’s just that simple. Doesn’t have to be a big thing, just something that made me smile.

With apologies (and all due respect) to Gretchen Rubin, I’m calling this blog post my “2015 Happiness Project.” Think of it as a digital “rememberlutions jar,” a way to make sure I’m doing everything on my 2015 to-do list, or, in a way, an abbreviated version of the journals I used to keep when I was in high school. And please, check back here often to see what’s making me smile all year long.

Here we go. Continue reading

Instead of Happy New Year, I’m Celebrating Happy This Year

31 Dec
Photo credit: nImAdestiny/Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo credit: nImAdestiny/Flickr/Creative Commons

I really didn’t want to write this blog post.

No, not for the same reasons that have prevented me from writing more often this year. I just didn’t want to admit — to myself, or to anyone else — that 2014 was over.

A year ago, things for me were looking (and feeling) good, and I was on the verge of some much anticipated professional stability. If things went as predicted, I was finally going to be able to reprioritize and shift from job searching to living my life again, and let things get back to normal. And then it happened: In January, my contract gig became a full-time job, and after about a year and a half of being unemployed and putting my life on hold, I was ready — determined — to make up for lost time.

And holy crap, did I. Continue reading