Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All we want is for you . . .

I feel lucky to have grown up in a family where I knew for sure that the title sentence ends "is to be happy." My parents have always wanted me to be happy. I want the same for my own children.

For the most part, I am, have been, and plan to continue to be happy. But yes, sure, I could be happier. Probably most of us could be happier. . .

And since most of us could increase our happiness, I am begging you all to read the book I just finished: 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.

Rubin decides one day while riding a city bus that though she is happy, she could be happier and sets out to examine happiness from all angles--historical, philosophical, literary, spiritual, psychological--and to embark upon her own year-long happiness project. Each month she focuses on a different area of her life and establishes 3-4 resolutions that she thinks will increase her happiness.

There is so much I loved about this book and her happiness project. I fear this post could go on and on, and I really want you to enjoy this book for yourself so I'm not going to say everything I could. I will just say that I was inspired by Rubin's specific resolutions and actions, by the depth of research she did, and by her enthusiastic call for others to create their own happiness projects. I seldom take notes when reading for pleasure (can't bear to do it after so many years in graduate school) and I did not take notes as I read, but I am telling you that I am going to reread The Happiness Project soon and with my pencil. On almost every page, I found myself thinking, "Yes, I totally relate to that feeling" or "That is an insight I don't want to forget" or "Wow" or "I need to think about this some more" or "I would really love to see what others think about that." This book has left me with more thoughts to think and, gift of all gifts, titles of more books that I want to read.

Most of all, I love to be reminded that, to quote Rubin, I can "change my life without changing my life." I can create the life I want, increase my own happiness and the happiness of those around me through my choices, actions, and thoughts. I feel inspired.

There are a lot of year-in-the-life/project-type memoirs out right now. I'm a sucker for them. Helping Me, Help Myself by Beth Lisick remains a favorite read. I recently finished Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant, which I also highly recommend; it was laugh-out-loud funny at moments but also very thoughtful and thought-provoking and not at all about taking cheap shots at Oprah or her fans.

The genre is great for revealing what a difference a year can make and for showing readers that it is always possible to keep learning, growing, having fun, challenging ourselves, and reshaping our lives.

I'm not sure yet what my personal happiness project will look like, but I cannot wait to get started and will be referring back to Rubin's book and her blog as I go.

After all, all I want is to be . . .

It's never too much to ask.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm going to pick up that book tomorrow. I will say, I'm going for the purchase. You must have quite the Butler County following. Anytime I run to the library for one of your suggested reads, I get placed on the waiting list....and sometimes, they don't come through for me. So, it's off to the bookstore. Like you, I see myself as a generally happy and positive person, but there are certain areas of my life that could use an attitude overhaul. Can't wait! Thanks, Rita

Stacia said...

I've heard good things about all these books but somehow haven't managed to pick up and read a single one of them. Maybe I'll skip on over to my library's online catalog after this and put my name on them.

debi9kids said...

This book sounds just wonderful and honestly, sounds like something EVERYONE could use reading (wouldn't that be nice?)

Thanks for the great review. Adding this title to my list of "must reads" :)

The Empress said...

Oh, you're right. And I love her blog,too. I finished this book about 2 wks ago, and did a post on it, too. What I love is the blog, though: her daily quotes, and daily actions. She is awesome.

You're right....I wish everyone would read this.

Excellent topic...wish we were in a book club together!! :)

dusty earth mother said...

i actually hadn't heard of this book. must take a peek!

How are you, Mep? Any tummy rumblings yet?

Steph said...

OK, I've just requested from the library! Wishing you well in the weeks to come!

Brandy said...

I don't typically go for those kinds of books but I really like the sentiment behind this one. We all should add a little more happy to our lives!

{And then the word verifcation is dearefo...I think it's insulting me.}

Actchy said...

Moment of silence for our defunct book club?

(Did I spell "defuct" correctly? Just don't feel like checking.)

Actchy said...

Well, I for certain did not spell it correctly in my parenthetical. Oh dear.

Anonymous said...

Does sound like a good one. May have to visit your good friend amazon for that one. LAP

CaraBee said...

Who couldn't use a little more happy? Adding this to my to-read pile tout de suite!

Heather said...

I'm putting this book on my bucket list for reading. It sounds like it's right up my alley!

Yay for Sweet P coming during nice warm weather!

Yay for you getting to relax in the sun!

Definitely an all thumbs up kind of week!

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