Read This

Read This? “The Happiness Project”

You might have noticed I haven’t done a “Read This” post in a little while now. That’s because it was taking me an unusually long time to get through my current read. Alright, I’m going to be perfectly honest here – The Happiness Project wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. You know my continuous praise for MWF Seeking BFF, so I held the suggestion in high esteem. Bertsche made several references to The Happiness Project in her own book, so I figured why not give it a shot? Well, obviously nothing was lost while reading this book, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. The Happiness Project is about Gretchen Rubin’s journey to “change her life, without changing her life.” She makes themed resolutions for each month that cover everything from exercise, organization, mindful spending, spiritual research, trying new things, to improving her love life and her relationship as a parent. Each month she tries to continue employing the resolutions from the month before. A quote from the back cover of the book from Christian Science Monitor labels The Happiness Project as “An enlightening, laugh-aloud read.” I guess I just didn’t find many of the anecdotes that entertaining. Rubin is careful to point out that everyone’s Happiness Project would look different, while also having several things in common. It’s about finding ways to increase the happiness in your life, and a lot of the time that can change can come just by improving your outlook and response to different situations in life. Be less snappy, stay present in the moments, stop doing things that make you feel bad! I may not have found this read entirely enjoyable, but there’s plenty of useful advice to be combed through. Two statements from the book really resonated with me:

  1. “It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” – G.K. Chesterton
  2. The days are long but the years are short.

I see this image on Pinterest pretty often, and every time I read the Chesterton quote in the book, this image came to mind. Sure, pulling yourself out of a slump can be difficult. I’ve noticed in my own life that once I do ‘feel light’ and I am making a conscious effort to choose happiness, it’s like a weight has been lifted and the relief that accompanies that encourages me to continue to try and choose happiness as much as I can.

As for the second thought, how true is that? I notice it in my work life all the time. The days in their individual mundane trials seem to drag on forever, but then the afternoon comes and I have some free time, and before I know it it’s time to go to sleep and start over. The weeks disappear faster than I’d noticed before and time keeps ticking away. I see it in retrospect from my school  years, too. Every once in a while I could recognize it while it was happening. You know, an all consuming test or project would be coming up and the time to get through those rough study patches would seem excruciating, but at the same time the social events or the road trips flew by before you even realized the count down to them was over. I try not to do too many countdowns. There are a lot of things I look forward to, but I know that I’ll regret it if I rush through the days in between. Who knows what surprises are in store! Live in the moment, don’t wish away the days, and enjoy where you are and what you’re doing right now – as much as possible.

The Happiness Project may not have become my favorite book, but I am glad I read it, and I would suggest checking it out if you’re considering. A lot of the reminders may seem like common sense, but half the point is recognizing the details, and taking some time to really meditate on them and try and instill some healthy positive practices in your life. I do believe the happiness we exude from ourselves, can rub off on those around us. Who doesn’t want a little push to be light? Hey readers, I’m curious – have you read The Happiness Project? What did you think? Did anyone out there try their own?! Fill me in – I’d love to hear from you!

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