Beth Books Read

On Happiness and The Happiness Project

I just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin after seeing it recommended on a number of blogs now. I enjoyed it, if you’re unfamiliar it’s a memoir of a woman’s quest to inject more happiness into her life by focusing on specific areas. Gretchen, the author, states right up front that it isn’t that she is UNhappy, it’s just that she feels she could improve her happiness. She chooses one area of her life per month to work on (parenthood, friendship, work, marriage, etc) and shares what she did and what she learned. It was relate-able and insightful and I definitely found myself nodding along with her, to the point that I started formulating my own happiness project in my head. Like her, I’m not UNhappy, but I thought it would be a good blog project and a good exercise overall.

But it’s funny. I’ve been rather reflective lately, something that happens in the summer I’ve noticed. I think it’s because summer brings out a nostalgic mood that’s similar to a feeling one might have at Christmas time. And as I’ve been reflecting and trying to map out what my happiness project would look like, I realized, I’ve already kind of been living one. My goal to “nourish” myself this year has kind of led to a bit of an unintentional happiness project. I’ve been focusing plenty on myself yes, but I have also been figuring out ways to be happier at work, in my marriage, with friendships, and almost everything else that Gretchen paid special attention to in the book. I just didn’t realize it at first.

I guess my takeway is, I’m already living out a bit of a Happiness Project, so I don’t need to start over or reinvent the wheel. I’m still so glad I read the book. It helped me realize I’m doing a good job of taking care of myself. I’m nourished AND happy.

The other night we went out to grab dinner at a popular restaurant in a VERY busy park in the middle of the city because it was an absolutely beautiful day. We thought it would be a great day to sit outside. We had to wait a bit in line to order food and wouldn’t you know it, just went we got our order in it suddenly started pouring outside. Our picture perfect evening was nearly ruined. It would have been something in the past that would have soured my mood the entire night or I maybe would have even been likely to throw in the towel and force us to go home. But we found a table inside, there was good music playing and Nate and Ollie started dancing together while we were waiting for the food, and somehow while it was wet and damp and chilly all around us I felt so cozy and warm inside. I smiled inside and out.  We were rewarded at the end of the evening with a rainbow. As we drove home I thought to myself, this is a good life. This IS happiness.

One thing I have also realized in terms of happiness is related to the blog here. I was feeling some burnout in the last couple of weeks and I think it’s because I was pushing myself to post every day and to fit into cookie cutters again. I was getting ready to throw in the towel, maybe not permanently, but was going to take a month off to think about it. But again, as I’ve been reflecting I realized, this blog still makes me happy. It’s still where I pour my heart and soul and memories. I don’t need to look like everyone else. And, I don’t need to post every day. If I have a day where the words don’t come, that’s OK. I’m not going to beat myself up anymore over missing a day here or there.

In conclusion, or the TL;DR summary of this post is, I am happy. I have been working on my happy all year. And I feel a peace I haven’t in a long time. One of the main things Gretchen talks about in her book is living her life by her own 12 Commandments, the most important of which is “Be Gretchen” – be who she is without really giving a darn what anyone else says or think. I’m going with this as a number one commandment too. I’m going to “Be Beth”. And in doing so, I am nourished – and happy.

10 thoughts on “On Happiness and The Happiness Project

  1. I haven’t read this book yet but it’s on my to read eventually list. I’ve been trying to do more nice things for other people in the hopes that good will come back to me. That and I feel better on bad days when I do it.

  2. I have heard such wonderful things about The Happiness Project, I NEED to read it. I feel you on the blogging burnout, I’ve been there a time or two. I’m glad you’ve decided to stick it out. I always come back. 🙂
    XO

  3. This sounds like a very positive and inspiring book – I love books that pull something out us and makes us want to do. Speaking of dos….loving the colour lady.
    Also, blogging can get tiring. Write when your soul wants to speak. Every day, every other, whenever. It’s your space. That’s the beauty of blogging. It should make you feel good when you sit down to plug away your words xoxox

  4. I read this book a long time ago and I keep thinking I might re-read it sometime soon and maybe do my own Happiness Project. It would just be a good way to look at different areas in my life without trying to do it all at once. But yeah, I’d say I’m mostly happy…but I think everyone could be MORE happy.

    -Lauren

  5. I read this book last year and did one chapter each month, following along with her year. It was such a fun read and really inspired me. I resonated so much with her on the need for gold stars. LOL!

  6. I own this book because it is a great reminder to me when I start feeling pressured to be something I’m not that I am Trish. Be Trish. I love that you took away from this that you are happy and nourished in your life. I did a happiness project a few years ago after reading this and it helped me tremendously in some areas of my life that I was lacking. I thought about doing another one this year, but with so many changes and new things, I felt it would be a little overwhelming. 2019 I will be re-evaluating how I am handling my happiness status and maybe throw in a little project.

  7. I love what you said here Beth, I can identify with so much of it. I love that you’ve been living out your happiness project without really trying–sometimes you just need some kind of trigger, like a good book, to make you realize you’re already going in the right direction! I love Gretchen Rubin’s happiness commandments too, and I also need to try to remember to “Be Shea” and not try to fit into anyone else’s idea of what I “should” do.

  8. You definitely don’t have to post every single day – in my experience, this does not only burn out the blogger, but also the blog readers. I’ve settled into a good routine of 2-3 blog posts a week and if I take a whole week off, so be it! 🙂

    I am getting a bit reflective in the summer months, too (why is that?) but am happy to hear that you’re discovered that you’re already living your happiness project by prioritizing what’s important to you. Go you!

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