Thursday, July 22, 2010

Projecting Happiness

Just finished “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. Good book! And, oddly enough, I found out that a lot of it could be summed up in my basic philosophy—clean up your messes, act like you’re happy and in a good mood, and most importantly, do what makes you happy. And conversely, try not to do things that make you unhappy.

Lots of things make me happy. We moved to South Carolina when the last of my little birdies flew the Georgia nest; my husband and I both knew we wouldn’t be happy seeing our daughters and their families just once in awhile. I write, even though I’ve had relatively little publishing success over the years, because I don’t know who I’d be without writing. I love to cook, be near water, read, spend time with friends and extended family, celebrate holidays… There are lots more, but I’m sure your list of likes is far more interesting to you than mine is.

Things I don’t do, or don’t do often, because I don’t enjoy them? Go to the mall. Golf. Watch TV sports. Read non-fiction except from a short-list of interests. Work in the yard. Listen to operas. Watch reality TV. (Reality isn’t my favorite subject.)

I used to be moody, but for some years now I wake up happy and content every day. Not sure what made the difference—maturity, wisdom, surviving cancer, possibly hormones or a lack thereof.

Maybe it’s the practice of happiness?

What about you? Do you think you could be happier if you did something different? What makes you happy/unhappy?


  1. I'm amazed at how similar our lists of likes and don't likes are. Reality isn't my favorite subject, either. But I think you've hit the nail on the proverbial head. The practice of happiness is the key. Someone famous--maybe Eleanor Roosevelt?--said that "Everyone is about as happy as they make up their minds to be." I've always thought that was true. Great blog!

  2. guess I have a whole lot of thinking to do now...
    but I am inspired. I'll have to get back to you on this one.

  3. Writing makes me happy. Being with my kids and grandchildren makes me happy. I spend as much time as I can doing both. I don't think I'll go to my grave saying, "I wish I'd spent more time working in the yard."

  4. I love my new life, being at home. Less stress, more happiness.

  5. I think your philosophy of three simple things to do and one not to do is right on target. Living in whatever your version is of a clean and orderly environment is vital - chaos and filth are depressing. A pleasant, friendly expression on one's face reaps many benefits. Not only does it predispose other people to like you, but it's amazing how often the interior will change to match the exterior. Doing the things you love is completely satisfying, as is avoiding the things you really dislike. I would add one more thing - avoiding people you really dislike (if at all possible). I had the misfortune to work with a difficult woman for 24 years. She was spiteful, jealous, manipulative, and incompetent. It has been a major source of happiness to me to not have to be around her any more since I've retired. Other major sources of happiness have been the ability to travel whenever I wanted (and could afford it), to try any and all hobbies that appeal to me, to make new friends, and just to have time to reflect, read, write, and smell the roses.

  6. Haha! I feel like playmate of the month: Turn offs and Turn ons!

    But seriously, I find if I avoid my biggest "doesn't make me happy," I do really well in the happiness category. I try to avoid negative people who love drama. Please! Life is way too short. Of course, several members of my family really do seem to love the drama.