What Makes Me Happy?

I decided to do a Year in Pixels for 2018 (basically a daily mood tracker), and just finished up January:

It’s a bit hard to figure out the dates, because I had deliberately not put months/days to keep it cleaner.  I may add them later though; it’s getting annoying to count them out to double check the date.

I also did one for Jack:

There was a weekend that we were in Tahoe (the large green chunk in my tracker), and when I asked Jack for his mood to fill his in, it seemed a bit like he was just saying he was happy because he felt like he had to since he spent the weekend on a trip with me (something that he denies).  It made me think about the days I was marking as happy, and I realized that I didn’t necessarily actually feel happy.  I was doing things that I wanted to do, on a trip having fun, and it felt like I should feel happy, so I had marked those as happy.  But I realized I didn’t really feel that much happier than a normal day – to be honest, all of those happy days were probably really neutral days.

So in reality, my month was pretty much just chugging along and being pretty meh the whole time.

After we got back from Tahoe, I tried to think of things that actually made me feel happy, and this is what I had come up with at the time:

  • Cat snuggles
  • Skiing amongst trees
  • Going to Penguins games
  • Sleeping in
  • Snuggles

Cat snuggles, sleeping in, and snuggles are pretty passive and more about just relaxing – I think it would probably be more appropriate to say that I am content in those cases, rather than happy.

Skiing amongst trees was something I only remembered because we had just gone skiing; it made me think of one time years ago in Idaho when I was skiing somewhere further away from the more popular runs, and for some reason I was by myself.  This was many many years ago, probably middle school, and the Lord of the Rings movies were very new.  It was just me skiing in an area where the path was narrower and there were more dense trees around, and in my head I just heard Lord of the Rings music.  I had a sense of wonderment, and felt very calm and connected, just surrounded by nature.

Going to Penguins games is something I can definitely say makes me very happy.  It’s really exciting to be at the game watching everything happen.  It’s a lot of fun to be around everyone else cheering or booing along with you, with no obligation to actually talk to any of them.  Even though I have to be around large crowds of people, the excitement and happiness outweighs the feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted, and the lack of actual interaction with strangers is relieving to me.

I figure I should probably try to do more things that make me happy, after this very blah January retrospective, so I asked Jack what makes him happy and what he thinks makes me happy.

For Jack, he is happy playing games, especially with friends.  He is also happy when he drinks and plays games with friends, or drinks and talks about thought-provoking topics with friends.  Personally, hanging out with friends is fun for me, but I think it’s overall more neutral than happy because being around people, paying attention to so many conversations and reactions and anticipating if people need something (especially when we’re hosting) or watching out for when people are done with things so I can clean and get them out of the way (when hosting) makes me exhausted, and I need recovery time afterward to just stay in and not do anything.

The only new thing we could come up with that makes me happy was eating good food.  However this is not very practical to do often, as all the instances of good food where I was very happy were expensive fancy places.

In writing this and reading back through it, I think I’ve found the disconnect between when I have fun and when I’m happy.  Having fun for me is something that is very in-the-moment, but there are consequences to the fun, especially since being around people drains me.  So I can have a lot of fun but not end up being overall happy, because I’m exhausted and I need recharge time.  The cases where I’m happy are situations where I have fun but don’t get as drained, or where I get recharged (as it seems like being surrounded by nature may do, or just lazing around at home doing nothing).

So perhaps I should not be measuring purely just how happy I am?  It would be a very boring life if I was happy but not also having a lot of fun.  Maybe I should start splitting my tracker to track both mood and level of fun, and keep mood more honest to how I’m feeling overall, but also track when I had moments of fun.

I don’t really have a specific plan to make February more happy, but being aware of fun vs happiness will hopefully help me find ways to increase happiness.

So I guess the answer to what makes me happy is that I don’t know, but I’ll make sure to have fun finding out! (Wow that was so cheesy)

New Year Rest

It’s a new year, and the day before work starts again.

All I’ve done today is rest and relax, only leaving the house to go to the gym and pick up some food.  Did some Blogilates after I woke up, ate a light lunch while reading Hedy’s Folly, wrote in my planner/journals, watched the Pens @ Flyers game (Fuck the Flyers), worked on the weight average app I’m making for myself, went to the gym, ate dinner, did some cross stitch, did the second day of the YOU-NICORN 30-day workbook, did the second day of the OmStars 30-day yoga challenge, and read a chapter of War and Peace.

Even though I think I’ve always needed it, it hasn’t been until this last year that I’ve really put into a conscious thought and words my need for recharge time.  I guess that it’s pretty classical introversion, though I never really connected it together before.  When we take vacations, if we’re coming home the day before we go to work, I prefer not to come home too late so that I can just sit around on the couch for at least a few hours doing nothing important.  For this long holiday break, even though I’ve had days in the middle to just rest and relax at home, I pre-reserved the last day to just spend at home doing my own thing.  Even just going out for dinner takes energy away from me; being around people, even if not talking to them, makes me really tired.  Being in very loud and energetic environments is stressful and completely drains me.

In fact, even though I’ve been at my current job for over 5 years and am very comfortable and familiar with what I do and the people around me, so I don’t have the anxiety of finding my place and getting used to people, I come home exhausted just from being around everyone.  Jack used to ask me why I just sit around and do nothing so often, and I think it came from that that I gradually had to put it into words that I need to just sit and re-energize.  Even if we’re hanging out with friends we like, even if we’re out doing something fun that doesn’t involve interacting with the people surrounding us, just being around the people is a lot for me.  I need mini home vacations after actual vacations where I’m continually surrounded by people.

I bought the book Quiet in 2012 but I never got around to reading it.  Seems like it should be the next on my list.

Anyway, I decided this post is also a good chance to look back on the cross stitching I’ve done this past year.

  • I made this Pusheen for Jack to put on his desk
    • Made this for some friends getting married
    • Two sets of friends had babies within 3 days of each other… so I did two of these in a row
    • Made this as a housewarming gift
    • Making this now to be a birthday gift

Free Penguins game

These last two or three weeks have been so busy and stressful, this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and do something non-productive.  I’ve consistently had career fairs or interviews or exams or homework or ONiB preparation or some ARCC event… It’s made me so tired that I’m either working or sleeping (note the lack of eating).  Saturday night I slept for 12 hours, went to dance practice at 12:00pm, then went back to sleep 3:00pm-9:00pm!

The TOC was okay.  I talked to a lot of companies the first day, including talking to four alumni.  I was going to go again for the small window of time I had the second day, but I ended up having a Qualcomm interview during that time.

I wasn’t expecting to have interviews that quickly, so I wasn’t that prepared for the Qualcomm interview Wednesday the 15th… other than asking me about projects on my resume, he asked me to write a tweaked version of the atoi function.  The next Tuesday I had my Microsoft and Citadel interviews.  I actually studied for these, but I never needed anything I studied!  Microsoft was pretty good.  The interviewer used to work with processors, trying to improve branch prediction, so he was really interested in the 18-447 processor.  I was surprised at the coding question, because it didn’t really require any special knowledge, but I guess it was just to see how I think.  Citadel… haha.  Let’s just say I know ABSOLUTELY nothing about finance and they’ve already rejected me :P  The interviewer kept asking if I read things like the Wall Street Journal, etc. and I was just like …no…

I have a GE interview on Friday and an Exxon interview next week.  I’m feeling good after getting five interviews, but honestly… none of them are in locations I want to work and I think I would only want to work at two of the companies.  The closest location would be Qualcomm, but it’d most likely be in San Diego… Jack got to choose to go to Santa Clara, but I interviewed with QGov, the division that works with the government, so I’m not sure I’d have that choice if I got the job x.x

I’m just going to have to wait for Cisco to tell me if they’re giving me full-time.  Why do they give their offers so late??? >.<

Anyway, on to the Penguins game.

My suitemate won free tickets to the Penguins vs. Blue Jackets game on Saturday (this was the game where all tickets were given away for free), so she took me to see them.  We sat really high, but it was right in the middle between the two goals, so the view was good.  I did not expect so many fights!  There were five fights that resulted in penalties, but there were a few fights that were stopped by the referees early enough not to warrant any penalties.  After the very first fight, Letang (#58) took off his helmet and my suitemate was just like, omg so manly… I have to agree :)  I mean, look at him (as a side note, when I found this photo online, the filename was sex_hair.jpg):

Penguins won that game… although it was only a pre-season game, so it wasn’t that important.  Also, there was a couple sitting beside me that had their baby girl with them.  She was adorable – they had her decked out in Penguins clothing, and even a little Penguins hat.  They put noise-cancelling headphones on her so that she wouldn’t be too bothered by all the noise; I even saw her fall asleep at one point.  So cute!

ONiB meetings are starting up soon – I’m going to set the board application deadline to next Friday, and start meetings the Thursday after that.  I’m going to be so busy!

I ramble too much.