Day 13

What does your ideal day look like?

Well, this is awkward, because in every version of my ideal day that I can think of, I do not have a baby.

One thing I think a lot about is the different varieties of happiness and how reductive and simplistic most conversations about “happiness” are. I have read that people who have children tend to be less happy as a group than people who don’t but also experience more profound joy, and that sounds right to me. A meaningful life is not necessarily a happy one, and merely being happy is not everyone’s primary goal. At different times in my life, I’ve optimized for getting quite different things out of life. There’ve been periods where I’ve optimized for adventure or inspiration or ambition, and if you’re optimizing for those things, you have to do a lot of things that make you very unhappy. You experience a lot of extreme ups and downs. Then, there’ve been times when I’ve optimized for contentment and pleasure and absorption. That sort of life leads to a lot of gentle, uninterrupted happiness — many peaceful days, but no ecstatic ones. These days, I’m primarily optimizing for meaning and joy, which again doesn’t necessarily equate to short-term happiness or comfort.

That’s a bit off topic to the prompt, though. My ideal day would be go for a run on the beach in the mild sunshine with my dog first thing, effortlessly write something truly brilliant in the morning, swim in the pool in the early afternoon followed by five hours of uninterrupted reading in the hammock, dinner with friends outside in the charming little town square (all walkable). Same as probably everyone’s, I’d imagine.

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