Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin - I thought I'd had my fill of memoirs about a year-in-the-life of someone trying to cook their way through a Julia Child cookbook, or live their life according to the Bible, or attempt every self-help trend...but I'm really happy that I finally picked this one up. The Happiness Project is Gretchen Rubin's one-year exploration into being more happy. Each month she focuses on a different aspect of her life: writing, her relationship with her family, being a parent, etc. She comes up with a couple goals for the month, and then she just runs with it. In some ways it's kind of funny - to think that being happy requires so much work and planning, but for many of us, I think what it really requires is a reprogramming of our outlook on life and how we approach our everyday lives. There are some suggestions that would probably work for everyone - being more grateful, taking time to listen, etc. But, I liked that Gretchen acknowledged that what makes one person happy will not necessarily make another person happy, and that we all need to make time for the things that we like and decide for ourselves what happiness means to us. It didn't hurt that she acknowledges that once in awhile material things CAN make us happy!! I loved that one of Gretchen's favorite things to do was to make little books - whether they were photo books of her children's projects, or just books of scraps of paper and quotations she found interesting. Maybe it validated one of my favorite projects - cutting out interesting articles and photos from magazines and pasting them into my "Idea Books" - but mostly I think it was the recognition that taking the time for things that give us satisfaction and happiness is always time well spent. There are a million and one ideas in this book - everything one needs to start their own Happiness Project, or at the very least to just start rethinking about how we live our lives, and trying to learn how to enjoy it and the people we live it with a little more.

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