Thursday, March 25, 2010


I had this epiphany the other day while cleaning up the toys covering the living room - happiness and fulfillment are not the same thing. I can love and be happy being a stay at home mom, but that doesn't mean that it is all I need in my life.

After chewing on that for a while I found the Happiness Project online and was intrigued.

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as "Julie and Julia," "The Year of Living Biblically," and "Eat, Pray, Love." With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her--and what didn't.

Her conclusions are sometimes surprising--she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference--and they range from the practical to the profound.

Written with charm and wit, "The Happiness Project" is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.

I haven't read the book yet but I am ready to start my own happiness project starting with the following new rules for myself:

1. Resist the temptation to be pulled into the mood of the "Debbie Downers" in my life. We all have that person that never seems happy and can find the negative in every situation. While I love these people I am going to do my best to remind them of the positive.

2. Remember that things that last and are important in my life don't happen overnight. Whether it is becoming a certified doula or learning a new skill (knitting/sewing/etc.) it will take patience.

3. I am going to start a one-sentence journal.

I am sure there will be more but that is what I am starting out with.


Monica said... Reply to comment

I keep a one-sentence journal, too. I love it!

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