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“The Pursuit Of Happiness”

July 4, 2017

Its the Fourth of July and I am in the office. Not odd, as its my office, but yesterday was a classic road day, as yesterday meant people had the day away from their work, and thus they could work with their architect.

3 states, 300 miles, 6 visits: first design ideas offered up, then budget results discussed, then a job site visited, then another, then a design evolution face-to-face, then a potential client, then home.


It took 11 hours. From a $million+ home to a $15K deck, to projects in between, it was, perhaps, my 50th multi-location trip of the year, and I have done at least 3,000 of them since I have had a practice.


You could say this is a necessary reality of being a house architect. But its about as necessary as this piece. I seem to be itinerant: others have clients meet in their office, or do not take small work far away, or agree to meet on “vacation” days. Many have hobbies. Many gather with their fellow architects. Most work for other people and have “hours”.

I am clearly in pursuit of something. Does it make me happy? I am happy driving home – if things went well. But none of the meetings, and none of the 3000 trips solved anything. The various processes were advanced, the projects moved forward, but there was no “completion”. The pile was pushed forward, but not removed.

On the simplest level I served the mission. I insert myself amid many competing aspects to make ideas more real. Some ideas are fully realized. Others should not, or cannot be made real, but there are many, they need reality-checking. Seeing, talking, touching these truths has to happen.

The pursuit of happiness is not happiness. But for me exhaustion is necessary – not completion. Effort is the means to get to being spent. If there is omission, fear, or spacing out – if there is no road trip, the mission is MIA.

Others binge watch. They shop. They go to movies or the mall. They tour or read. Somehow I cannot. I write enough reading is a necessary assignment. TV fills a place where I cannot do something else. Unless my wife buys them, my underwear is 20 years old.


And I write this on a “vacation day” because, well, its part of the mission. I wish I had faith that its a good thing. But it seems to have been necessary. Some, not all, sharks swim to breath. Others have developed the ability to rest and push water across their gills.

Apparently I am one of those fish who needs movement to breath. This cannot last, but its seems, like the swimming shark, natural.

Is the shark happy?

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