I am reading book 4 (feverishly, I need the finish it today and start book 5 and finish it like....yesterday!). Anyways, Book 4s title is The Happiness Project: Or why I spend a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle and generally have more fun. By Gretchen Rubin. Great title, right? The title is what captured me! I was just randomly searching around for books back in February on Amazon and this one popped up in my "recommendations".
I LOVE it so far. So, in reading it, I learned that Gretchen also has a blog! SWOON! You know me, I love a good blog;) So I found it, and it turns out you can join in a Happiness Project yourself, for 2011. It doesn't matter when you start, just start! So I did. I'm not sure what this means for ME yet - and I have to search the site more for information but I get the gist of it just from reading her book. I'm going to follow her on the blog, but there are also some areas that I am choosing for myself.
All of you know my big resolution for this year. My project, so to speak. Read 10 books a month for a year, 120 books total. I have absolutely LOVED doing this so far. Honestly, I really think it's made me happier! It's something just for ME (well, and those that I share with) but it is something I can challenge myself in, something to accomplish. There are many other projects I'd love to work on to - if I can get them all organized in my head. Here is just a short list of them:
1. Start THINKING about writing a book (maybe read books on writing and proposals and publishing?)
2. Create a more organized, healthy, well-laid out home (a constant battle) which goes along with my cleaning mantra - "everything has a place! If it doesn't, get rid of it"
3. Be more healthy as a person, and as a family.
4. Create ways to legitimately spend time with my friends and family (i.e. Family dinners once a month, girls night every 1st Friday, have a big party once a year, etc)
5. Get involved, really involved, in church again.
Ok, so that's a hefty list. But when I think about "being happy" these are the things I think of. The road to happy is a long one, and I'm not sure if any of us will ever be happy all the time in our lives, stuff happens, cars break down, people die, fires burn, etc. But like Gretchen says in her book, being happy is also a little about knowing how to handle the unhappy times.
I think of myself as a generally happy person. I think in my youth I was a little more bubbly, being an adult has calmed that down a lot - life, so to speak, may have slapped me a few times;) But I am, I am generally a happy person. I don't feel the need to throw it at anyone or prove it to anyone (well, maybe myself) and when I am having a happy day, people can see it without me flaunting it (if you flaunt it, is it real? I don't know, I'm working on that one). I have lots of unhappy days too (like having the flu, or anniversaries of deaths, or PMS, lol) but something I like to do at the end of those days is remember what I do have and how thankful I should be. It honestly (even though its a cliche) gets me happy again, and helps me move on to the next day.
Anyways, her book is about how...yes...she is already a happy person...but is she ENJOYING life..living it to the fullest and not just living through day to day. Is she actively happy? Every month is a new "project" she is working on, with 4 or 5 resolutions to go with it. My Project is never going to be that in depth. But I want to take today and think about what this project means to me, how I want to organize it, and I'll get back to you about how it's going;) Maybe if enough of you want to do this, we can do a "Happy Club" or something (local friends)? That would be hilarious.
I'm more then halfway done this book - but I'll review now. I've pretty much summed up what she writes about (for instance, her January title was Boost Energy, Feb was Remember Love, etc) and she is honest in how she gets through each month and hits on her resolutions. Its so good. Its adorable too, I love her writing style. It takes place in NYC, so you know I love it. She is married and has two young kids, so that may speak to a lot of you out there who are drowning in "life" everyday, so is she but she really tries to make the most of it. I give this book a 4 out of 5. I don't want to put it down (although work and illness try to get me to!) plus is inspirational...motivated me - and you know I love that! I highly recommend it!
I'm off to clean out MY closet (I'm starting already!) and the house for that matter. I'll be thinking about what my happiness project means to me...how about you?!