What is Happiness?

I’ve been gone for a while.


Pressure kept building while I did my best to ignore it.

I stopped caring.

Stopped being happy.

Then someone took a tiny crowbar and entered my heart. Suddenly there was light on the horizon instead of the dark clouds that consumed me so intensely. Happiness once again warmed my skin. Love filled my pores. I realized I still had some purpose.

Sitting in the airport yesterday, she challenged me on something I said. She always challenges me.

It’s bittersweet.


I told her that she makes me want to be better. But did I really know what that meant? I said that I want to have the life where I can make someone else happy.

Seems easy enough, right?

She challenged me. “So for you, being better means making the people you love happy?”

At first I thought a simple, “Yes” was the answer. But I was boarding the plane and had a few minutes to think about it.

At what point does making someone “happy” destroy a relationship? Does it involve avoiding an argument just to make someone happy? Is it conceding just to avoid conversation? Is it the irrational belief that just by saying the right things everything will turn around and be ok?

Maybe I thought so. I’m not sure.

I would be challenged on that statement too.

Getting to my seat on the plane, I understood that’s not happiness.

It’s avoidance.

I’m good at avoiding. Diverting.

I’m happy when I can make someone happy, but not because I am looking for the things that make that person happy. I want happiness to be natural.

No, I NEED it to be natural. It gives me purpose. It gives me life. It gives me love.

Maybe I can overcome my struggles.

There is hope.


Not just hope that I can “fix” something…hope that I don’t need to try to use happiness to fix the unfixable.


Is Cooking Therapeutic for an #Introvert?


Cooking is extremely calming for me. My grandmother basically taught me how to cook old German recipes that I still make today for my family. There is something about looking at a recipe and making something out of just a bunch of ingredients.

In full disclosure, I’m not a great cook. I follow the recipe to the T. I make good food because I’m not smart enough to deviate from something that works.

My wife (the Hippy) has a culinary degree. My degree is in Organizational Communications. Our joke, ok…my joke, is that I do all the cooking and she does all the talking.

That’s not entirely true. The joke is actually, “I do all the cooking and she won’t shut up.”

I also do most of the laughing at that joke. She begins her eye roll before I even start the joke since I’ve said it so many times she knows it’s coming.

But what started out as a joke (a damn funny one if I do say so myself) has blossomed in my mind as something tied into me being an introvert and her being an extreme extrovert.

I follow the recipe. I write it down in a notebook and guard that book with my life. I lay out everything in the proper order according to the recipe and won’t deviate. It’s calming. I don’t have to think, but I know that I am creating something the family enjoys.

The Hippy hates recipes. She probably has a hearty laugh inside that I use them. Maybe she even laughs out loud. I can’t be sure because I am concentrating on the recipe.

She can walk up to our pantry, pull out a few things…go to the spice counter, pull out a bunch of those with names I can’t even pronounce…and then make a masterpiece. When we have leftovers from the stuff I make, those leftovers are the exact same thing if I am warming them up. But not the Hippy. She can take those leftovers and create something that is totally different. And probably better.

Not probably, it is.

That is calming for her. Being creative. Seeing me eat something that I made the night before without even realizing it’s the same thing.

It’s her own little party in the kitchen. Communicating, in a way, with all of the ingredients. Making sure they all are happy with each other. Being the cheerleader captain. She can think outside of the box.

If the chili is burned, she knows to add peanut butter. Who the hell came up with that one. Probably not an introvert.

She’s the same way in a party. She likes to talk to everyone, even if she doesn’t know them. She makes sure everyone is getting along. If she could, she would host a party at our house every day.

I would change the locks.

But she’s an extrovert.

I treat a party like I cook. I stick to what (who) I know. I don’t add things to the discussion that may cause friction. I lay everything out in my mind so I am prepared.

I rarely order anything different at a restaurant that I have been too. If it’s something I know I like, why take that risk?

I have to take enough risks at work, after work is my “no-risk environment.”

Sort of. I do have a 6 year old who keeps me on my toes 24/7. Especially since his social calendar is much more impressive than mine.

Anyway, I’m kind of proud of myself. Not only did I come up with a hilarious joke, but it’s a joke that actually ties into the diversity between introverts and extroverts.

What do you think?

Those darn shells we are supposed to come out of


“You need to live a little and come out of your shell.”

Have you heard that one? Of course you have.

We all have shells, not just us introverts. One of my hippy extrovert wife’s shells is to be with a group of people out in public doing stuff. She’s weird though.

We can’t come out of our shell any more than a turtle can survive without one. It’s our DNA. It’s our wiring.

It’s our protection.

It’s our comfort.

Our shells can be as different as a snowflake. For you, they may be sunglasses or headphones. For someone else it might be their smartphone or tablet. Most of us have multiple shells depending on the situation.

A few years ago I was at a conference down in San Antonio. Being from Montana, I have no issue walking around by myself at night, but I have to admit, I was a little nervous when I was there. Or should I say uncomfortable.

So out came my cell phone. I wasn’t on the phone with anyone, but I was having a conversation on it nonetheless. In fact, I was able to solve some issues back home with that conversation. Ok, I still had to deal with them but if anyone heard me talking they would have assumed I was really doing some good work on the phone.

No one asked me for anything as I walked through the crowds.

Another one of my shells is the official Taker of Pictures and Video. Those of us that don’t like having our pictures taken can relate to being on the other side of the camera lens. It can be a little empowering.

I also have another shell that may not be thought about too often. That is a microphone. You see, I tend to do a lot of public speaking. That’s one reason that people would not guess that I am an introvert. When I am on stage, in front of a group, talking about what I know about, I am fine. I am not vulnerable. I can anticipate what questions may be asked. I am in control. I am prepared.

But don’t expect the same person at a party afterwards…unless I am talking about the same things I talked about on stage.

Now I am vulnerable, naked.

I tend to hang on to an extrovert that can deflect to themselves. If that doesn’t work, I stuff my mouth full of food. I can eat that same piece of food for 20 minutes if I need to. One hour at a party is usually much more exhausting that speaking on stage for three hours.


So why would I want to “Come out of my shell?” I can’t be the only person who thinks that if I were to go to prison I would prefer solitary confinement over the general population. And not just because of that whole soap thingy either.

Anyway, what are some of your shells that keep you sane? Shoot me a message and I promise I won’t call attention to you.

Seriously…I promise.

~The Professional Introvert