After about a decade of doing research on happiness, I realize that my favorite research comes from university labs that use self-reported data. Most of our happiness lab research is based on self-reported data about who feels happy.

Which means, maybe, that I am my own lab. I can self-report just as well as anyone else. So here is my self-reported research. And, like all good university lab results, there is a little third-party oversight at the end. Read more

This is our spring family portrait. The calf wandered into the photo.

Winter is peaceful on the farm because there’s nothing to do but keep the animals alive. It’s hard work, but it’s only a few hours a day. Summer is busy because all the fields are ready at different times—farmers cut hay many times in a season, farmers rotate the animals to graze different fields, and there are baby animals that have to grow and become independent by winter. But the rhythms of summer are predictable because everything is part of a system. Read more

Last night I was in bed with Matthew, and I was reading The Week, which I totally love because it’s like a summary of every idea that has been posed by mainstream media for the last seven days. My only gripe is they should be quoting my blog. Especially for topics about women and work. And in fact, I am putting a link here to Editor-in-Chief William Falk, so  this post comes up in his google alerts and he mends his misguided ways.

I worry that I should not be worrying about this. Why can’t I just enjoy a magazine I like? Read more

While Generation X did not give a crap about building corporate America, Generation Y defined its own paths through corporate life, all largely non-linear, family-centric, and gold-star focused. If an achievement can’t be conveyed through social media then it doesn’t exist. The Organiziation Man is no more.

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I am in the car about forty hours a week. I hired a driver. She won’t drive all the times I have to drive. Of course she won’t. Her life would suck.

It doesn’t matter. I have to be in the car for so much anyway.

I can’t ditch my son’s therapy appointments. I need to be there to say, “Of course nose picking is like cutting.” I’m an expert on cutting. Digging out eyebrow hairs so they bleed or tearing cuticles so they hurt all day. I need to be there to translate for the therapist the world of comfort through pain. Read more

You know authenticity is how you connect with people, but it’s hard to know how to gain authenticity. Just wanting it does not increase it. Also, our perception of what is authentic changes. For example, five years ago, when social media was new, authenticity was transparency. Today, with most things feeling transparent, authenticity is something more nuanced. Read more

I sent this post to my editor and he said to me, “This is not a blog post. This is a breakdown.”

So fine. It’s a breakdown blog post. But it’s a plyometric breakdown. Do you know what plyometrics are? I learned about this when I played pro volleyball. It’s a way to train your muscles to respond fast. You get your jump to happen in a more explosive way by training your muscles to react faster to shock.

Plyometrics are key to any elite training, even elite-level breakdowns.

Step One: Hate as many people as you can, all at once. Also, hate yourself.   Read more

I am tortured by my books. This is not an uncommon feeling to have. Many people buy books they wish they were reading and then do not read them. Other people are tortured by the obsessive need to repurpose books. Like David Bouley turning books into bricks.

I do not have those particular forms of book torture. I have others.

My first book torture was that I was a latchkey kid in the extreme sense. Like, my parents came home at 8pm and my brother and I used taxi cabs and store credit largely unsupervised. It was hard to get their attention for anything that did not involve physical or mental abuse, but one thing they were always up for was a book recommendation. So I read what they told me to read.

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I spend hours and hours in cello lessons. Not that I pay attention – I answer emails a lot of the time. But there’s no way to not learn if you sit in enough lessons, and the big thing I’ve learned is being a great performer takes guts.

I knew that was true about gymnastics. My editor has a daughter who maybe was on track for the Olympics, but at some point he realized she wasn’t willing to try the crazy, daredevil moves required to compete at that level. Read more

I’ve been a huge fan of Huma Abedin ever since she married Anthony Weiner, the smart, liberal politician who made C-SPAN an entertainment channel.

Huma’s first job was as Hilary Clinton’s assistant when she was First Lady. Huma has been with Hilary ever since, and she has risen to the top of Hilary’s circle. You seldom see a photo of Hilary in a room where Huma is not close by. Read more