My Happiness Project

I took my kids to the mall yesterday so we could spend our Christmas gift cards while the boxing week sales are still on. The kids had so much fun. I tried on exactly three pieces of clothing before I decided I’d better stop – I quietly slipped on ten unfriendly pounds since I started my desk job and am in the process of reversing that trend with my new elliptical trainer. Instead I bought a new journal and a new book, neither of which were on sale. Oh well!

I bought The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.


I had seen this book around before – it was published in 2009 – but it didn’t really pique my interest until I came across Gretchen’s Happiness Project Blog sometime in the fall. Her blog is really inspiring and thoughtful, and I thought I would keep my eyes open for the book. And there it was, on the last shelf that I passed on the way to the register with my new journal. I scooped it up, paid for it, and that was that.

Last night I read the introduction and I was delighted to discover that not only does the book encourage and instruct the reader to start her own project as she reads along with Gretchen’s, but that THP is designed into twelve month-long resolution segments – which is exactly what I had been considering for my 2013 resolutions. Well, what a coincidence.

Happiness as a year long project? I wasn’t sure about that. I’m always looking for tricks to keep the happiness levels up since I seem to be so predisposed to melancholy. But a whole year? If I think about it though, any resolution I make is geared, ultimately, to increasing happiness. Usually goal-setting has to do with self-improvement, making life better, and reaching our goals makes us happy. Even thinking of reaching our goals makes us happier. So this morning I spent some time brainstorming my own happiness and the various resolutions I had been considering making. I’m designing a plan. I will be making charts. (I love making charts.) And I invite you to follow along with me through the next year.


Happy Chill Out Day

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and now, finally, it’s December 27th – Chill Out Day.

I didn’t come to the blog intending to write a post. I opened my laptop to go online and check movie times for the Hobbit. (The 6 o’ clock showing it is!) Then I clicked on the blog tab, and voila! here I am. Two days short of two months absent from this place.

We’re settled into our new house. We like it here. Neutron the cat has really settled in. He is mellow, cuddly, and is spending a lot more time indoors. It’s weird.

I drive a lot less than I did before. I spend a lot less time zipping around town. We all really like our neighborhood and we like our home a little bit more everyday. We did arrive in our new digs right as the holidays were kicking into gear a month ago, so it’s hard to measure exactly the rhythms and pace of our new life. It does feel like a new life, which is funny because we really just moved across town.

Hey, it’s 3:33 pm. If I were still a kid I would make a wish. Well, since I just got in from sledding and am planning to go see the Hobbit, maybe I’ll run with the theme and make one anyhow.

I wish for a riveting story.

What do I mean by that? Hold on. I’ve got to go throw another log on the fire.

Okay. The fire is roaring again. But that’s it for the wood. Unless I go chop more. Nope. That’ll be it for this afternoon.

I’m not sure what exactly I mean by that, or rather what all I mean by that. I am enjoying a great novel right now, and I’d be content to just keep reading more and more really well crafted stories, forever and ever amen. There’s no better pleasure. Maybe my wish is just for that. Maybe my wish extends to crafting a good story of my own. But life is a story in its own kind. Mine was pretty intense with a lot of ups and downs for a good decade or so. Lately it’s been a little more settled, and frankly its been a good little breather. And there looms before me this option. I could coast for a while – probably a good long while – and maybe I will. But I’ve been feeling like I could use a new plot development. A little drama and excitement. We’ll see.

2013. The future.

There is something about a new year.

I don’t really have any plans for 2013, but I feel good about it. Hopeful and… and… big. 2013 feels like a really voluminous, open, blank, spiral-bound journal. With pages and pages of big white, easy turning pages.

To resolve or not to resolve.

There are always the health ones. The productivity ones. I’ve been thinking I could resolve to be a better mother. I’ve always felt I’ve done a pretty good job, but it’s always on the fly, doing the best with what I’ve got in the moment, and it’s gone pretty well. But sometimes I think I could be a little more intentional. Especially as they’re getting older. My first girl turned 10 last month, and it’s starting to hit me, how fast that went by and how fast the next ten are really going to, and I’ve begun thinking, okay, what do I really want them to know before they’re out in the world? What tools do I want to provide them with? What things do we parents put emphasis on that really aren’t all that important, and which crucial things do we tend to neglect?

I’ve been taking fewer pictures of them and spending more time looking at their living faces.

Yeah. So, resolutions. My wise friend Aneta has done resolutions before on a month by month basis. I kind of like that idea, and I think I will copy it. It would be neat. 12 compact mini-resolutions.

But now it is time to go make turkey soup.