“The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin.
Last night I finally finished a book that I had started back in November called “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. It was an interesting read with some really thoughtful probes to get you contemplating not only the things in life that you truly enjoy for you, but how your own happiness can contribute to the happiness of those around you.
Now for the big question, am I happier for reading this book? Well I haven’t yet started my own happiness project, but I have spent time meditating on some of her thought provoking ideas, quotes and concepts. In response, I began by making some subtle changes in my life wherever I could, that I believe have, in turn made me feel a lot happier.
There was definitely one area that was a complete standout on the things that make me happy and that was reading. I absolutely love reading and writing, but I don’t actually get to read very much at all, unless you count Facebook. For the past fifteen years or so I have been lucky to read a book a year, when prior to that I would be able to read one a week.
Every year I go to our regions annual book fair and every year I buy a bag full of books that I have every intention of reading …..One Day! With each passing year, I have learnt that “one day” is probably not going to be a day in my very near future and so, for the past few years, I have prayed as I have walked out with my collection, “Lord, please don’t let me die before I have a chance to read all these books, because I really and truly want to be able to read these books.” I do have great intentions of making a start on them, but realistically I know full well that my collection of books is probably building towards my retirement.
I think that because both books and writing is deeply personal, I find that I need my own space to do both. I love to immerse myself in writing and the same is for reading, but with a young little one and a busy schedule, I just don’t have that kind of space throughout the day. My nights seem to be no better, for even if I try to read something after work, I find that I don’t end up getting very far before my eyes start drooping.
So, the question is how do I build, being able to read and write into my daily life? How can I practically focus on making myself happier by indulging in the things that I truly love to do for me? I began by making a firm resolution, and that was that, I am not going to die of old age before I have read those books, and I am not waiting until retirement to read them either! I am going to start reading them today, even if it’s for only ten minutes a day. Page by page, if that’s what it takes I will get to finish these books, I will begin reading again, because reading makes me happy. I resolved that I was also going to continue writing my growing collection of blog pieces, if only for my own benefit for now. I decided that I am no longer going to deprive myself of these two simple pleasures.
Although making time for the things that I love to do for me, was a big win on my personal happiness scale, there was also a much deeper impact had in my heart, with regards to a statement that Gretchen wrote in her “Secrets of Adulthood“ quotes; “The days are long but the years are quick”.
I have been blessed, with basically two generations of children, and I have seen how quickly the years pass by. The days of a busy mum with little ones are long and can often be utterly exhausting as you try to juggle all the hats, tick all the boxes and meet all the responsibilities for each new day. The days are so very long…….. but Gretchen’s statement is so very true, that the years go by very quick. My heart has been reminded to make a conscious effort that whilst I am making more room in my life for reading and writing , to also ensure that I make more room in those long days just to be able to truly enjoy the blessing of having a beautiful vibrant four and ½ year old in our lives.
Another blessed quote that Gretchen made that has been making my life a whole lot easier was “If it takes under a minute, do it now.” Those little annoying tasks, the bobby pins left on the bathroom sink rather than in the drawer, the throw pillow that someone has let slide onto the floor, that odd sock that is still sitting on the floor, all under a minute jobs to put away, and I have found a sense of peace and completion, by just doing it now.
This book is definitely worth the read and you may just surprise yourself and your loved ones by allowing yourself to do some things that you enjoy for you. You may also find that her quotes, secrets and resolutions resound personally with you, as you bring them into the context of your own lives. They are thought provoking, that it for sure.
Life really is short in the scope of Eternity, and yet the days are long and the years are quick. I am hoping that today, we can all get a fresh perspective on the things that make us happy and our loved ones who will all benefit from our cheery hearts.
Have a great day