The Eudaimonist /you•dye•mon•ist/ is a collection of stories and essays about modern happiness.
I launched the site in 2021 to write about a quirk of mine: I'm forever adjusting the parameters of everyday life. A new bedtime routine. A new caffeine regimen. All while trying to live with contentment.
Today these experiments are optional, but that wasn't always so. I spent my 20s casting off a cultish childhood by overhauling everything—and I do mean everything—from wardrobe to surname to bedrock ethical views. Secular music had been off-limits until I left for college; I didn't swear until I was 23. I suddenly had to make sense of a life without cosmic purpose, and my replacement beliefs nearly killed me. I burned through grad school on Dunning–Kruger hubris. I came undone in 2011. It would take another decade to learn why.
This site, then, is something of a love letter to that older self. "Here's what I know you'd want to know." I hope it brings you happiness too.
And welcome. Thanks for being here.
0-9: Born Jason Michael Swadley, 1985 vintage. Wanted to be a fire hydrant when I grew up. Did kids stuff in rural Missouri. Sang title role in the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors.
10s: First kiss. Family moved from Fair Grove (population 919) to the woods. Built my first computer. Shook the President’s hand in the White House with the U.S. Senate Youth Program. Graduated in a class of 50 from Fair Grove High School. Started at Drury University. Read books. Accidentally drove a moped off a cliff in Greece.
20s: Launched the website where the Hackintosh was born. Studied abroad in London. Sold website to some Brits. Graduated from college. Read more books. Earned master’s from the University of Chicago.
Started Ph.D. at Brown. Founded The Art of Theory, a political philosophy quarterly. Visited my 50th state. First encountered depression. Left Brown to reorient in the Ozarks.
30-now: Cared for my nonagenarian grandmother and took what work I could find. Edited the State Desk at Ballotpedia.
Returned to research after the 2016 election. Added my maternal family’s name to my own. Moved to Virginia... and then the Virginia woods. Took role directing $2M in annual grants advancing the frontiers of liberal thought. Started to write for what felt like the first time.
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