Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Happiness Project

I've added The Happiness Project to my blog list. It's something that I've been reading for a while, but I didn't want to add it to my list because I wasn't sure if I liked it. Sometimes it seems so...quaint...neive...innocent. As if you can just decide to be happier. And she wrote a book, which she shamelessly promoted on her blog. And I was just thinking, another self-help book, but I added it to my reading list anyway. I'm never going to get to everything on my reading list. *Sigh* So sad.

And then, BookSnob, another blog I've been reading, but wasn't sure I liked, wrote a review of The Happiness Project (the book, not the blog), and she compared it to Eat, Pray, Love, but more like for the rest of us who can't take a year vacation to foreign countries to figure out our problems. And she (Katy Keim) mentioned that it was very brave of Gretchen Rubin to tell people (at cocktail parties, etc) that she was starting a happiness project. I mean, think about that conversation. Random party goer: So Gretchen, what are you doing this weekend? Gretchen: I'm starting a happiness project! I'm going to do a ton of research and read a bunch of works by all sorts of people and figure out what actually works to make me happier and what doesn't, and I'm going to write a blog about it! Random party goer: Uh-huh.

So then I thought, what if she's actually sincere? What if Gretchen really wants to make herself happier, and she wants to help others (me!) do it to? And then (and then!) she posted this post about the office. I haven't actually seen the clip she's referring to, but based on her description, I can totally see it in my head (yes, my imagination works like that). I really like Pam and Jim, too. They're really nice, really decent people, who aren't always right, but even when they're wrong, they're not that wrong either. If the entire show had characters like them, you'd want to puke. But it doesn't, so it works.

My husband bought me a house, too. I mean, I helped, but really, he bought me a house. I should be happier about it. I have a house! With three bedrooms and a yard and trees! But then there's that pesky should. It's very easy to get into trouble when one thinks one should something when one does not.

Gretchen Rubin includes this in her post:
One of my resolutions is to Imitate a spiritual master, and my spiritual master is Saint Therese of Lisieux. I often puzzle over a particular line she wrote, an observation that seems very significant to me, but that I don’t really understand: “for the love of God and my Sisters (so charitable toward me) I take care to appear happy and especially to be so.”

I'm going to work on being happy about the house my husband bought me. Despite the problems. We discussed just the other night about how no one has a perfect house. And even if we built it ourselves, we know we'd move in and think, we should have done this, we should have done that. It's probably easier to be happy about the one I've got rather than to go and build a new one.


  1. Virginia, you spent too much time on thinking about happiness. While you are thinking and working on happiness, happiness is happening all around you. Enjoy it.

  2. Change your New Year's resolutions to, I'm happy. Then drop the work happy from your vocabulary.

  3. I saw the nice mention of my book, The Happiness Project, here. I very much appreciate those kind words and you shinning a spotlight on my work. Thanks and best wishes,