Happiness is, for me, very much a matter of contentment and very little a matter of novelty. A little novelty goes a long way with me. My rule of thumb for evaluating how much I like something is to ask myself how much I'd like to experience it again. I definitely make a point to experience new things from time to time, because otherwise I might miss out on some great stuff; but for me an important reason to have new experiences is to build a repertoire of experiences I like enough to want to have them again.
I'm a very curious person, but my curiosity is often directed at quirky or esoteric things. I mean, yeah, there's a lot of more "normal" stuff I sometimes get into, like political predictions or board games or waffle recipes. (If those things sound abnormal to you, perhaps you should stop reading now --- unless maybe you were thinking "Those sound abnormally AWESOME.") But I'm also the type of person who will, when a mood seizes me, spend hours listening to hundred-year-old sound recordings, or doing statistical analyses of Supreme Court voting patterns, or reading about travels to remote islands.
Seemingly mundane matters often pique my curiosity and make me want to investigate their implications and backtories. I'm the kind of person who starts thinking about probability distributions while playing a hand of cribbage, or about small-business economics when walking past a cell phone repair shop, or about Beethoven when hearing a trash can go bump-bump-bump as someone drags it down their driveway. Sometimes going to the grocery store makes me wonder about all the kinds of food there are there, many of which I never buy, and about what kinds of people do buy them. (And sometimes I buy stuff I've never bought before, just to try it.) Basically I'm very interested in patterns. People have patterns, and so do I, and so does cribbage and so do corner stores and so does Beethoven's music and so do the bump-bump-bumps of dragged trash cans. Not every pattern necessarily grabs my attention, but when one does, I often become very interested in trying to figure it out.
This profile is making me sound quite serious, which in a sense I am -- but not in the sense where serious is in opposition to having fun. I like having conversations about weighty matters like "the meaning of life" but also random everyday stuff like the new sandwich shop around the corner or what you overheard on the bus. For me, thinking critically and being somewhat goofy aren't alternatives; they're both part of how I think about most everything, and they just vary in their proportions. I'm just as likely to make a jo mama joke during a discussion of political economy as I am to quote Proust during a conversation about farts.
I take a fairly leisurely approach to most endeavors. That doesn't mean I do everything slowly or half-heartedly, because sometimes I work quite frenetically on some project I've become fascinated by. But I'm an extremely unambitious person according to the usual notion of ambition. My motivations for doing things are almost wholly internal, and my internal motivation is more progress-oriented than goal-oriented; so basically I don't care as much about getting things "done" as about just steadily doing them because I enjoy doing them.
So most of my free time is spent tinkering with ideas (analyzing data, reading, etc.), appreciating simple pleasures (a nice walk, an exhilirating hike, a good meal, a board game with friends), noodling creatively (with music or writing), or relaxing and goofing off. I've also managed to finagle a lifestyle where I earn my living doing more or less that sort of thing too.
Now, I haven't forgotten that this is a dating site, even though by this point you may be thinking you accidentally clicked a link to thisiswhoiamasaperson.com. But actually all of the above is quite relevant to what I'm looking for here, and how I'm looking for it. I'm looking for a relationship that will provide long-term contentment, rather than a temporary novelty. And I take a leisurely approach to that looking, which means I don't care if it takes a long time. And, of course, those things aren't really achievable without finding someone who is, so to speak, "on the same wavelength" as me. I'd like to find that rare someone whose way of looking at the world is similar enough to my own that we can, metaphorically speaking, look wonderingly at the world, then look at each other with knowing smiles and go, "That's. . . I know, right?" I'd like to find someone with whom I can share what I think is fascinating, beautiful, and essential in life.
That means I'm looking for someone who's cool with a life that is devoted more to tranquil contentment than to high-velocity pursuits, and who feels like the things I mentioned spending my time on are things she likes to spend time on too, because otherwise conversations about what to do today could quickly become awkward. I'm also looking for someone on whom I can honestly bestow the introvert's highest compliment: "I feel like I'm alone when I'm with you." And she'd probably better be pretty sweet, because I am too --- but my sweetness is of a synergistic sort that requires a complementary sweetness in order to reach full flavor. There's a good deal of space in my life for the right someone, but the space is, you might say, oddly shaped, so that most people wouldn't fit into it, and would find it rather uncomfortable. (And frankly, I would probably find it quite uncomfortable to fit into most people's lives too.) But I suspect that for the right person my particular brand of romance will fit like the proverbial glass slipper.
If you think all of this makes me sound picky, you're right. I'm in no particular rush, and I'd rather not get involved in something that I don't think is going to last for the long haul (although that could be a friendship as well as a romantic relationship). I'm looking for a relationship that will make me happier than I am right now, which is no simple quest (or a friendship that is as good as the ones I currently have, which is also no simple quest). On the other hand, I don't hold it against anyone else if they're picky too. In fact, it seems like just about the only way this can work eventually is if I meet someone who is so doggone picky that, until she met me, no one else quite fit the bill.
Last but not least, I'm good at living frugally without scrimping or denying myself much. I just have limited --- and cheap --- needs. (It's amazing how much money you don't spend when you don't like coffee or alcohol.)
As for nonfiction, mostly psychology (e.g., Stumbling on Happiness, Gut Feelings, stuff by William James) and philosophy (e.g., Plato, some Daniel Dennett, and more stuff by William James).
I recently finished Last and First Men and Silence Once Begun. I'm now reading Superforecasting and rereading Proust in a mini-book-club with fellow Proustophiles and OKCupid denizens zin_0 and cuttlefishdrag.
I also read the Los Angeles Times every day.
Movies: The Princess Bride, the Bill & Ted movies, Rushmore, 12 Monkeys, Star Wars, State and Main, Sweet and Lowdown, and perhaps most of all Lone Star.
TV: I don't have a TV, don't watch TV, and am not generally interested in watching TV.
Music: Despite being musically inclined, I rarely listen to music. I have fairly eclectic musical tastes, but when I do listen to music, these days it's mostly either classical (predominantly Beethoven) or super-old recordings from the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization project. (Check out the cymbalom ones.) I usually go to a few classical music concerts in a year. I play the piano frequently.
Food: I tend to care more about what's in the food than what "kind" of food it is, but I'm especially partial to Indian food and Mexican food. I enjoy vegetables as an accompaniment to a meal, but I'm fundamentally a meat and dough kind of guy. I like baked goods, especially donuts and things made with oats. I drink a large amount of whole milk.
There are some pretty common foods that I don't like, including cheese, eggs, coffee, wine, and beer; this astonishes many people.
I feel in this section I should include a disclaimer about my near-total disconnection from "pop culture". I don't have a TV, I don't have Netflix, I don't have an iPod. I don't have iTunes, I don't even watch a lot of YouTube or anything like that. This doesn't mean I'm a luddite, because I spend tons of time on the computer. I do occasionally listen to music or go to a movie, and when I do I enjoy it, but I'm just not the kind of person who likes to have a constant stream of audiovisual entertainment feeds, and I don't have any desire to "keep up" with newly released stuff. Most of what passes for entertainment in my life comes from reading or from physically seeing and doing things.
What I have recently read.
Whatever sort of data I've recently been fiddling with (the census, tweets, the stock market, you name it).
Music. (This is not so much "thinking" as just constantly making up tunes in my head.)
Why people (including me) do the things they do.
What it is about things that seem the same that makes them seem the same, and what it is about things that seem different that makes them seem different.
Also any one of my peculiar fascinations, like miracle fruit or Tristan da Cunha or tardigrades.