I picked up Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project at the airport over the weekend. I chose it because I liked the cover, and I’ve been interested in reading her other book which is about finding contentment in domesticity. Also, all the other books for sale in the airport looked like copycats of 50 Shades of Grey. No thanks.
I wasn’t that into the book at first. It seemed like she was doing too many things to try to create more happiness in her life. Each month she added new projects to the ones that she had already started the month before. It was overwhelming. Also, I’m at a very different place in life than she is. I’m preparing for a huge life change and she’s trying to find happiness in her day to day not-really-changing life. Still, she had some good things to say.
Each month she focuses on a different facet of her life. Marriage. Fun. Work. Etc. Her Fun chapter is really interesting. She comes to terms with the fact that her idea of fun is not necessarily other people’s idea of fun. And vice versa. For me, when I moved to California, I realized that I loved being away from sports, football in particular. Going to the games every weekend in the fall had become less and less enjoyable to me over the years, and I needed a break. (I didn’t realize that it was a break at the time. I thought I was done forever, and then I met Gregg.) I find it more enjoyable now, but to admit, even for a time, that I didn’t really like this sporting event that everyone around me loved was kind of freeing.
One of her fun projects was to start a Children’s Literature book club. This totally resonated with me. First, I surprisingly L.O.V.E.D, Harry Potter. OMG. And as I’ve read The Secret Garden and Heidi, among other Kidlit over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten a different bit of joy than that which comes from an adult read. Sure, some are a little boring. Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, for example, were too slow or something, I couldn’t get into them. And I’ve never been good at seeing the movie (or watching the show as the case may be) and then reading the book. But, she made me want to tap deeper into this genre of books. They’re so fun to read.
She has a very “Type A” approach to happiness. She creates to do lists and challenges herself to do things that she thinks and has even researched will make her happy. One gem that I received from her is “Act how you feel.” This reminds me of Reimagine‘s philosophy: Do/experiment and the feeling/change will follow, instead of wait around for the feeling and then make the change.
I’ve been irritable this week. I’m not sure if its being pregnant (so nice to blame that for everything) or the weather or something else. But, for the rest of the day, I’m going to act loving and sweet, even if I don’t feel like it. And maybe the feeling will come? We’ll see…..