This blog is intended to explore the idea of a switched-on life.

So what does that mean?  I see being switched-on as feeling fully alive.  Engaged and creative.  Connected to oneself, others and the natural world.  Living in the moment and awash with positive feelings.  Building a platform for happiness and health into the future.  Having fun in the here and now, so that each day matters.

It sounds like something worth striving for, right?  In fact, it sounds like what life is supposed to be.  For many of us, though, it also sounds pretty far from our day-to-day reality.  For one thing, we’re busy, really busy.  But also, it can often feel that fun, which is one of the things that really switches us on, is hard to come by in our everyday routines.

I’m an anthropologist, and this blog is coming on the heels of a long period of focused research into the relationship between happiness, fun, play and well-being.  What started as some rather offbeat research questions, like whether or not there is a relationship between how much fun we have and how healthy we are, and whether the nature of fun has changed over the years, has turned into a serious exploration of the role that joy and fun play in creating our well-being at every level.

I’m hoping to use this blog to achieve three things.  First, I’d like to share and get feedback on the insights and ideas I’ve been researching and developing, like what kinds of fun make us feel happiest, and how fun creates well-being.  Second, I want to explore some of these ideas consciously in my own life, in other words, to put my money where my mouth is and find out if my theories about switching-on do indeed lead to a better, more “alive” life.  And third, I would love it if readers joined me in some of these experiments, sharing their experiences along the way.

With this project, I’m joining a growing chorus of voices that is driving a new conversation about what it takes to have a happy, healthy and meaningful life.  Flourish, Thrive, The Happiness Project, Last Child in the Woods, All Things Shining, A Whole New Mind, The Family Dinner, Eat, Pray, Love – these are but a handful of some wonderful new books that cross genres but pursue a central idea:  what constitutes a good life in the early 21st Century and how do we get it?

Each of these authors tends to embrace a guiding philosophy about how to switch-on, like spending time outside, staying true to one’s personal vision for happiness, or connecting in that most precious and intimate of settings, the family dinner.  But there’s an essential ingredient that’s present in many of these visions and, in fact, it might just be the engine that makes them successful.  And this essential ingredient is worth understanding because it’s one of the most taken for granted subjects in the Western world:  fun.

In coming posts, I will share insights I’ve gathered through dozens of interviews and hundreds of hours of reading.  I welcome comments, feedback, fresh ideas, new ways of looking at the insights and above all, your own experiences with feeling switched-on, or switched-off, and the impact those feelings have made in your personal and professional lives.  Together, we might just create a new approach for living, one that gives us permission to have fun, and provides the strategies for living a joyful, switched-on and healthy life.