Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Happiness Project

I've had a lot of ideas swirling around in my brain lately (and clearly, not making it into the blog) and I feel like they are coalescing into The Happiness Project. Or my own quirky version of it.

My Mom has had this book for a while, and apparently I pick it up every time I go over there. My Mom actually bought another copy for me because she saw me eying her copy all the time. It just seems so decadent. A whole entire year spent devoted to finding my own happiness? But when would the grocery shopping get done? And how could I sleep?!? I feel like I spend so much time just trying to make it to the next day that it's hard to imagine devoting much, if any, energy to The Big Picture. I'm stuck looking at my feet instead of down the road.

Which is related to another blog post I started composing in my head and never actually finished. How much time do I spend making myself miserable RIGHT NOW, with the hope/promise that my life will be easier later? And how often is it actually easier later? Or do I just find something else with which to fill the time that I struggled so hard to free up?

So of course, I'm up late to grade papers. And instead, this is the time that I choose to step back and think about The Big Picture. Because I have been miserable lately. I want to be happier about my choices in life and instead I feel the stress levels building again. Last night I dreamed that I had a new job. It was still part-time, in a small office, and was incredibly laid back and low key. No late nights here!

So in this dream, I was explaining to my new co-workers why I quit teaching. Even though I enjoyed it and felt passionate about it, I also thought it was very stressful and didn't feel part-time at all. It felt like I was teaching full-time and taking care of Eleanor full-time and the rest of life—anything else I needed or wanted to do—was fit into the little bits of time left. As I explained the situation to them, it was as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I suddenly realized how light and relieved I felt.

And then I woke up.

And Eleanor woke up, an hour ahead of normal. And then we dove into another frantic, crazy, out-of-control day.

It gets back to what I said before about having margin. I don't really know what I need to do to fix it, but I know something needs to be done. So I'm signing up for the 2011 Happiness Challenge, and hoping desperately it doesn't just become another item on my to-do list.


bwkroger said...

I recently read this book and couldn't decide if I loved the idea or despised it. I think I like the idea but don't love Gretchen Rubin. So, I am excited to see how it goes for you. Best of luck!

Helen said...

I hope so too!

M. Lubbers said...

Brianne: Hmmm, I guess I didn't even think it would be possible to like the idea without liking the author. I'm only about a chapter in, but I do have a sense of how her intensive "navel gazing" (as my blogger friend Jonathan always refers to it!) can get tiresome.

I'll let you know how it goes!

M. Lubbers said...

Thanks, Mom! You're further along than I am; I'll be interested to hear what you think so far.

Chuck said...

Where do I signup for the "2011 Happiness Challenge" or would that make it a competition and therefore

M. Lubbers said...

Dad: The whole "Is signing up making it stressful" debate was one I had myself, too. But if you choose to, you can sign up at