How to Give the Gift of Happiness

Handmade Gift, c. 1995 Before curling up in my parents’ bed and listening for the reindeer hooves they insisted they could hear, I spent the Christmas Eves of my childhood locked in my room making and wrapping presents for them. My parents were my only means of making purchases, so no store-bought present could surprise them. From the year of the handmade ornaments to the year of the coupon book (breakfast in bed, anyone?), I never stopped dreaming of the day I could finally get my parents a “real present.”…

The Problem with Confusing Ambition and Happiness

It’s Saturday afternoon and you really want to be doing something relaxing. As you think about lazy activities, you are slowly reminded of all the loose ends you left at work on Friday evening. I really should just work you tell yourself as you open your laptop. And well, that’s the excuse you’d use if a friend called. But the crazy thing is you kind of do want to work because you like what you do. You’re pretty happy with it. It’s not what you tell your friends though. They’re so…

Josey Baker Has Perfected The Recipe for Happiness. Now He’s Perfecting One for Bread.

There are few organically inspirational things in this world. Products, establishments, services, these things are not inspirational. It is the story behind them — the people behind them — that move us to be better versions of ourselves. The first time I visited San Francisco’s The Mill, it was to edit an early draft of my novella. I was in between jobs at the time and committed to completing this endeavor that I started eighteen months prior. Having just received feedback from my hired and peer editors, I was feeling especially…

Happiness feels a lot like sorrow

Several weeks ago, I overheard a painfully morbid conversation between my grandma and grandpa. “What is the point anymore? When I was younger, the kids were starting families and I wanted to be able to help them and watch our grandchildren grow up. But now, there is just no point. Why should I continue on this miserable diet?” My grandma, who has been living with diabetes for a while now and has more recently suffered from a few heart attacks, was expressing to my grandfather her unhappiness with a tasteless diet…

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