Tuesday, April 17, 2012


KS asked me a number of questions relating to happiness.  As I developed my answers, the words all seemed like they belonged here rather than in a private response.  Perhaps for no other reason than for me to observe how my answers to these questions may change over the course of my lifetime.

Let me start by saying I think I fall outside of the bell curve on most of these answers.  I'm not like everyone else.  I don't know how that happened.  But I know that is where I am.  I know I am who I am, and I can either ignore reality or accept my differences.  I choose the later.

Also let me mention that I fell asleep writing this, so it doesn't seem very coherent.  It's not my best post.  But, it's another angle towards my thoughts so I'm leaving it un-altered.

What makes you happy?
Pain.  Specifically physical pain.  Physical pain washes away my thoughts and leaves my body and mind clean and pure in a way that nothing else can.  Fatigue slows me down and lets me chill.  The problem is that this becomes an addiction, and just like a pot-head I feel unsatisfied without ever-increasing doses of endorphins.  I recognize this and I accept it.  I work around the problem by bouncing between yoga and running, ensuring I'm never actually able to be good at either which guarantees that I feel healthy levels of suffering in both at all times.  I used to use triathlon for this purpose, and I will admit that attempting to train for 3 sports at once is a great way to ensure you never feel like you are fit enough.

Or what kind of things bring you happiness?
I like toys.  Specifically electronics, computers, stereos, and all things geeky.  "Stuff", however, lost some of its luster a couple of years ago.  At some point I switched from caring about my car to not caring.  At some point I lost interest in all my beautiful bicycles and switched my focus to two sports where gear is inconsequential.  I do have a number of items on my to do list with the house and the car and when it comes to stuff, it's all aimed at maximum utility.  Take my streaming media player + tv in the master bathroom, it's a great way to listen to pandora in the shower which is pretty cool and adds to my overall happiness.  Sure it took hours to run the network cable and mount all the hardware, but now I get to enjoy it every day.  I find that cool.

Little things?
I really like my man cave.  It's a space under my stairs where I can sleep and where the majority of my electronics are located.  Someday when I have money to burn I will make it the altitude chamber for sleeping at 10,000 feet.  It's pretty little.

But on a more normal note, I love cookies and chocolate.  And coffee as of 2 years ago.

Things people do for you?
I generally feel tremendous guilt whenever anyone does something nice for me.  I would prefer to feel neglected than to feel guilt.  But there are a few select situations where I've allowed friends to do things for me that have made me very happy.  A good example of this is the Phish concert in LA I went to last month.  I was able to enjoy a fantastic evening because of one specific person who made it all happen.  I am tremendously grateful for that.

Or things you do for people?
I really like being asked to help someone who rarely asks for help.  I think there is no greater feeling than a discriminating person seeking your expertise.  I have tremendous difficulty asking for help, so I admire greatly those who are able to do so.  At the same time, nothing annoys me more than someone constantly asking for help with things they are entirely capable of doing.  I have a few of those situations at work and I don't handle them well.

Things you do?
Sweating always makes me happy.  Even a lousy workout.

Do certain people make you happy?
Absolutely.  There are people in my life who brighten up the room when they walk in.  There are people who mesmerize me because I just can't understand them.  And there are people who I feel completely comfortable around.  Most of the people in my life fall into these categories.

Or bring you happiness?
Some people are just full of wonderful and spread natural, genuine, pure love around every day.  Most people are a bit of a combo of all of their emotions, and run the spectrum.

What things in your past have helped you feel happy?
Finishing school for good.  I've started enjoying learning more and more, but I need to feel productive more than I need to feel like I'm learning and growing.

Are there things you want that you think you could find happiness in?
I'd like to share my life with someone, I know I would find happiness in that because I've felt that way before.

Are you a happy person?
Probably not.  I assume some of my friends would say flat out no.  But I find joy in all sorts of places.  I just don't give a voice to all of the good.  Some would say that's a massive character flaw.  I would say that I choose what to internalize and what to express.

Do you want to be?
I'm pretty happy with who I am today, but I'm happy to keep learning, growing, and changing, especially to be more compatible with and understanding of the rest of the world.

I want to add a few more tidbits on pain.  I don't think I am any different than anyone else in terms of how I process pain.  I don't have a particularly high pain threshold.  I fear pain just like we all do.  I dread it.  I anticipate it and I cringe knowing what is about to come and then it comes and I wimper like a little girl.  I frequently quit in my mind before my body reaches failure.  I fall short time and time again.  When I say that pain makes me happy, I am really saying that the attention and focus I am forced to give to myself during a painful situation is what clears my head.  The pain itself, well, it hurts.


  1. I think your answers are great. It is interesting to hear that you like to feel more productive than feeling like you are learning or growing. And coffee only two years ago? I think you might be happier than you think and it is great to know you are happy with who you are today. You should be. Don't forget that it is okay to ask for help and helping you might make someone else feel good.

    Thanks for answering these! Sorry you feel asleep!

  2. Love all the insight. I can relate to the part about bouncing between two things and never being great at either. I do the same with biking and running. I wish I could come up with some magical recovery routine so I could do more of both....

  3. This makes me want to go for a long one. I don't know why - maybe it's because that's what makes me happy. Hills make me happy. Stinky tech tees make me happy too.

  4. Good read. I'd be afraid to answer all these because I might overthink my happiness away.