I’ve got a cup of green tea, three open windows (it is a beautiful 50° F), and a pile of homework due shortly. I’m [supposed to be] working on two multi-part (multi-part meaning over a dozen sub-questions each) economics questions due Monday and my first art project due Tuesday.

After reading about mathematically described recursive data structures all day, I’m taking a little break to write. So, here we are. You, me, and some extemporaneous thoughts to follow:

Well, the holidays are quickly approaching… and that means expectations are in place for everyone to mingle with family and friends. Which gets me wondering if that is a worthwhile use of time. More generally I start to wonder how much time people should really be spending outside of solitude. Refrain from deeply gasping, it will interfere with your attention.

I’ve known a few hundred people, and have had some type of observational opportunity for thousands of others. What I always enjoy discovering, usually directly, is who people are. Specifically, what they want, where they want to be, how they intend on getting there, what’s driving them towards tomorrow, and what other common thought they entertain frequently. Very rarely do I meet someone who can answer those questions.

I know many college graduates that never put their degrees to use. They took on thousands of dollars of debt, only to work in unskilled jobs. So many people detest their employment.

Another common question I like to ask: is the person happy. So often I have seen people flee from the answer, and many times tears accompanied my prying investigation.

Everywhere people enjoy drugs, alcohol, sex, food in excess, etc.

My meandering thoughts are trying to get at a few simple ideas. In my experience, most people do not know what they want or who they are, and happiness is often dependent on things external.

These issues are insurmountably problematic for me, because they seem to warrant the severest form of personal attention, but are so often masked or neglected.

If someone’s happiness has external dependencies, it must be unstable. Revocable, destructible, temporary. A happiness like that would seem destined to cause unhappiness at some point. Assuming happiness is the ideal state, it seems like a person should devote plenty of time to cultivating a stable source of happiness. An internal source. And to do that, it seems like one would need to minimize the external. Spend time alone, with internally spawned ideas, looking for a happiness that can exist when nothing else is there.

Spend enough time alone, and one is bound to uncover things about one’s self. Which eliminates wasted time – trying to find yourself using someone Else’s directions is ridiculous. And once you’re fully aware of who you are, you’re much better equipped to enjoy others.

I’m running out of time to flesh out these thoughts in more detail, but I’m going to revisit these ideas soon.

For now: if you have issues with unstable happiness or an uncertain self, consider spending the holidays alone. The last thing you need is distraction from fixing problems that could potentially linger for life.