based on the recommendation of one of my favorite book buddies, i picked up a new book and am embarking on a new (vicarious) journey: The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. the book chronicles Rubin's year-long, mapped out journey to appreciate her life better, to be happier (which means so many different things), and to focus more on her own life while she's living it.
after letting my friend T know that i bought the book, she said she hopes i like it. my response: "I'm sure I will like it. You know I eat this shit up!" and i do. i really do.
why? because i love reading about other people's personal and spiritual journeys. i love learning from, and in a way growing through, the life lessons that other people have learned and then had the energy/courage to put down on paper. and thank god they did.
so a word of warning: be prepared to hear me share all my favorite parts of The Happiness Project, just as i did with Eat Pray Love and The Year of Living Biblically and A New Earth (do a search for any of those titles on this blog, and multiple entries will pop up from the past couple years. sometimes i go overboard.)
for now, i'll share with you what Rubin said to the cynical people around her, many of whom weren't supportive of her project:
A lot of people took issue with my happiness project. Starting with my own husband:
"So if you're pretty happy, why do a happiness project?"
"I am happy -- but I'm not as happy as I should be. I have such a good life, I want to appreciate it more -- and live up to it better." I had a hard time explaining it. "I complain too much, I get annoyed more than I should. I should be more grateful. I think if I felt happier, I'd behave better."
* * *I ran into even more skepticism soon after, at a cocktail party. The usual polite chitchat devolved into a conversation more closely resembling a Ph.D. dissertation defense when a longtime acquaintance openly scoffed at the idea of my happiness project.
"Your project is to see if you can make yourself happier? And you're not even depressed?"
"That's right," I answered, trying to look intelligent as I juggled a glass of wine, a napkin, and a fancy version of a pig in a blanket.
"No offense, but what's the point? I don't think examining how an ordinary person can become happier is very interesting."
"I wasn't sure how to answer. Could I tell him that one Secret of Adulthood is, "Never start a sentence with the words 'No offense.'"?
"And anyway," he persisted, "you're not a regular person. You're highly educated, you're a full-time writer, you live on the Upper East Side, your husband has a good job. What do you have to say to someone in the Midwest?"
"I'm from the Midwest."
He waved that away. "I just don't think you're going to have insight that other people would find useful."
"Well," I answered, "I've come to believe that people really can learn a lot from each other."
"I think you'll find that your experience doesn't translate very well."
"I'll do my best," I answered."