Booking It - The Happiness Project

Today, I finished reading the second book for my online book club, "The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun" by Gretchen Rubin. There are a number of things I am excited about having just finished this book:

  1. I have finished my second book for the year!
  2. I completed the book a few days early to be able to discuss it for the book club meeting
  3. I have a lot of things rattling in my head regarding the topics Rubin covered in this book that I want to do something about.

Thanks to Life as Mom's, Jessica Fisher, I had a handy-dandy "Reading Notes" paper stuck inside the book so I could write down quotes from the book that stuck out to me.

Here are some of them:

  • Page 92, "The aspect of parenthood that intimidated me most was its irreversibility. Spouse, job, work, location- most of the big decisions in life can be reconsidered. Change might be difficult and painful, but it's possible. But a baby is different. A baby is irrevocable. Once Eliza [her daughter] was born, however, I never gave another thought to the irreversibility of parenthood." Rubin writes that children bring a fog happiness. Something you can feel, but it can't really be explained or captured. I enjoyed reading her thoughts on "before" parenthood.
  • Rubin talks a lot about "Being Gretchen." I thought about what does it mean to Be Malisa. This is something I want to discover and embrace.
  • Page 152, "'Mere exposure effect'...the more often you see a person, the more intelligent and attractive you'll find that person." So true!
  • Pages 176-178, "Hedonic treadmill - spending doesn't necessarily produce happiness." This goes hand-in-hand with Anthony and my decision to become debt free. The feeling of being enslaved to debt certainly makes this principle even more astounding. 
  • Page 179, "It's easy to make the mistake of thinking that if you have something you love or there's something you want, you'll be happier with more."
  • Page 185, "It's certainly true in my household that spending out [not expecting payback] creates a wealth of tenderness while calculation and score keeping build resentment." I loved Rubin's thoughts on this topic. It helped me realize that what I do for someone else matters and doesn't just affect them, but myself also. I think this mirrors the Golden Rule: Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.
  • Page 223, I also liked the portion about "Do what you do." She says, "What you enjoyed doing as a ten-year-old, or choose to do on a free Saturday afternoon is a strong indication of your passion." Herein lies a challenge for me, what do I like to do? Discovering what I like, not wishing I liked something else, is what I want to figure out.
  • Page 260, "As a way to help myself stay serene and cheerful, I resolved to discipline myself to direct my thoughts away from subjects that made me angry or irritable." WOW! This is a concept I am already trying to implement and keep on practicing. A great example is talk radio...if I'm finding that my blood is boiling, it is probably an indicator that it is NOT a source of happiness. Change the channel and steer clear!
  • Page 269, "Enthuisiasm is a form of social courage." How true. I was reminded of how someone very dear to me, my mom, has always been accused of being too Pollyanna-like. But her choosing to be happy and play the "glad game" is harder than the opposite, being a grumpy, angry person.
  • Page 270, "[It is] easy to be heavy; hard to be lighthearted."

Overall, I really liked this book. I would like to start my own "Happiness Project," but I'm not sure when I will start or how it will look. One thing I was reminded of so eloquently in the book was the things we do every day matter more than the things we do once in a while. Thanks, Gretchen, for a wonderful book.