Your Winter Happiness Guide: 21 Ways to Blast Away the Blahs

Here are a handful of the O family's best-loved routes to delight. We hope some of them will become yours, too.

Reason to Make a Mess

OPeter Walsh: "Cooking! I'm a crazy cook."
Ken Greenblatt Peter's partner: "Yes, and I get to clean up afterward. Do you really have to use every pot?"
Peter: "I like to cook adventurously, which usually means a high volume of pans. A great example is—"
Ken: "—your lasagna Bolognese."
Peter: "Right. With the béchamel sauce and the noodles."
Ken: "It takes a day and a half, but it is delicious."
Peter: "I also make a chicken liver parfait...."
Ken: "I don't think you should talk about that in O."
Peter: "Our favorite thing to do is throw a dinner party for ten to 12 people, at which I make only things I've never made before, and everyone can stand or sit around the kitchen island helping me cook. And then after we eat and they say, 'Can we help you clean up?' I'm not shy about saying, 'Yes, please.'"

Favorite Thing About Getting Older

"Not worrying about what people think—I can do pretty much as I please. And now I have time to read in the morning and nap after lunch."
—Beverly Cleary, 96-year-old author of the Ramona series

Favorite Explanation of the Inexplicable

"There's a concept in physics called the fine-tuning problem. Imagine the universe has adjustable knobs: It, and we, can only exist if the knobs are adjusted perfectly. So perfectly, in fact, that it seems improbable, uncanny, that we should exist—and yet we do. To grapple with this paradox, physicists developed the anthropic principle, which says it's not uncanny that we exist in this universe, because there are other universes out there, too, some in which we could exist and some in which we couldn't. In July I was on a pop culture and science podcast with 30 Rock's Scott Adsit, who summed up the idea beautifully: 'In an infinite universe,' he said, 'there is no fiction.' In other words, our theory of a finely tuned universe isn't false or fictional, or even improbable, if only some of the universes out there support life—because of course we'd only find ourselves in one that does. After he said that, I couldn't speak. It was just so perfect."
—Kyle Cranmer, PhD, Part of the worldwide research team that discovered the Higgs Boson particle

Favorite Unheralded Moment from the Olympics

"In one of the semifinals for the men's 400-meter race, Kirani James, the 19-year-old from Grenada with an irrepressible smile, came in first, and Oscar Pistorius, the South African double amputee, came in last. After the heat, James embraced Pistorius and gave him his bib—the name tag each runner wears—as a sign of respect. It wasn't repeated a hundred times on TV. It wasn't some big, celebrated triumph. It was just this moment of connection, the best of what sports can foster. It was a quiet note of grace."
—Bob Costas, NBC sportscaster and prime-time host of the 2012 Olympic games

Favorite Unstylish Thing I Can't Let Go Of

"I have one of those big, wide, silver TVs—a fat clunker, 12 years old—that makes no sense in my very contemporary apartment. But even though I'd love to buy a flat-screen, I can't bring myself to spend the money when this one is still kicking. And it's such a fabulous product that it will never die."
—Adam Glassman, O's Creative Director

Favorite Way to Shut Out the World

"Mary Oliver, my favorite living poet, once wrote some great advice about finding joy: 'You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.' Some people do that by eating ice cream, or having sex, or taking a hot bath. I pee in the woods. It gets me outside my house and my head, and it reminds me that I'm an animal. I've peed all over: in French fields and leaning up against New Mexican boulders. It's an up-close, slowed-down, personal way to experience nature—your own, especially."
—Elizabeth Lesser, Cofounder of the Omega Institue

Favorite Home Remedy

"My wife, Lisa, introduced me to peppermint oil—which is great for taming tension headaches. Just massage a few drops on your temples and forehead when you feel a headache coming on, and the cooling menthol can help ease your pain."
—Dr. Oz