I have never really understood self-help books. Don’t get me wrong, I, like every other female, read “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert and was intrigued by “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne when it was what everyone was talking about. But I always found them very preachy and unrealistic. Sure – if someone paid me to go to an Ashram for a few months or eat my weight in pasta, I too might be happy for a bit and forget my scumbag of an ex-husband. But how could someone without a lot of money, who has children and responsibilities, and that scumbag of an ex-husband, possibly find anything useful in “Eat, Pray, Love”? How could a single, childless, wealthy white woman’s paid journey to find herself help the average person? It is easy to find happiness when we escape our normal lives. The trick is finding peace with the mundane. The routine.
This day to day happiness is what Gretchen Rubin is after in “The Happiness Project“. She makes it sound easy enough, but I was skeptical. Could I just decide one day to be happier and make different choices to achieve that happiness? I have been working on who I am for 32 years now – just deciding to change a habit is VERY HARD. You can read the hyperlink for a much more detailed explanation of why it is so hard to break habits…or just trust me. As a person who’s job it is to work with people on feeling better about they way they look and feel…even when people are faced with medical problems associated with their weight or sugar-intake, it is still VERY HARD to eat better and move more. There is a reason those extra lbs crept on over the years.
That being said, there was something very intriguing about “The Happiness Project”…maybe it was that she addressed some of my issues with her journey/experiment (like admitting to failure often, particularly in the portion about trying to quit nagging her husband). Or maybe it was that she laid out an ideal that seemed a bit more attainable (sometimes). Ultimately, I think I just liked her quest. She wasn’t unhappy…she wasn’t depressed or even in a rut really. She simply decided that she could be getting more out of life if she stopped complaining about small things all the time and embraced some more of the wonderful things. Maybe that is just an idea I can understand. Trying to be present and mindful. Trying to appreciate the good things instead of focusing on the things that I don’t have. Don’t get me wrong – this is VERY HARD and I am sure to fail a lot. But at least it got me thinking…
Also, I absolutely I loved her list of “Secrets to Adulthood” shared here…especially the “bring a sweater” secret:
And in a shameless plug about one of my secrets to happiness, performing, please check out a play I am producing and will be starring in this summer: “One in the Chamber” by my brilliant friend Marja-Lewis Ryan. She wrote and directed it in LA and I am so thrilled she will be sharing her talents with Washington, DC this summer. We are running a little fundraising campaign via indiegogo, so if any of my FIT friends also get pleasure from the Arts, please consider donating today. Just $25 now gets you two tickets to the show. And it is a really, really good show so you won’t want to miss it.