Friday Reflections: The Happiness Project

Last Saturday I met up with one of my best friends from my childhood (and adulthood, for that matter) that recently got married, graduated law school and began living and working in Pittsburgh. Wahoo! Since she's moved back, we haven't seen each other nearly as much as we should, especially considering that we live less than five minutes from each other. A month ago we got together when our other BFF, Karia, was in town from New York City. The three of us were all married within the last year and half, we are all working steady job(s),  and we are all 'type A' women with similar goals and perspectives. Oh yeah, and we talk a lot when we get together. 

Needless to say, a number of various topics come up during our always too short catch-up times. On this particular afternoon, I inquired about a book that would help me with some goals that I have set for myself at my new job, and in life in general. Each of us tossed around a few ideas; books we've heard of, books we've read, books that we want to read. I jotted down a few suggestions in my planner, but never got around to making a purchase. What I did get around to, however, was resolving to spend more time with one of my best buds, and not take for granted that someone that I have been close to forever finally lives nearby. 

Fast forward to following up with that resolution: we're sitting in a new local bakery catching up on work stories and life stories when Liz pulls a brand new book out of her purse. "I got you this!" I gasped. How thoughtful. One of her older sisters had recommended The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin a few weeks ago, so Liz bought each of us a copy. I began reading it this week during my lunch breaks at work, and although it took me a few pages to adjust to the format, I realized later that night that I was already remembering things that I had read in the book, and applying them to life.

Here's a brief synopsis from Amazon considering that I probably shouldn't summarize anything when I have only read the first second chapter:
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project... Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound.
I decided that not only would I benefit from reading this book, I would also benefit from taking my favorite quote/idea from each of the 12 chapters (and 12 topics) and sharing why I think it's important and how I could apply it to my own habits and routines. If it means something to me, maybe it will mean something to you, too. In the first chapter, Rubin discusses improving your day-to-day energy by sleeping better, exercising better, and organizing your home and life in a more effective manner. The Type-A personality in me says, "yes! yes! and more yes!"

Look forward to posts in the upcoming weeks regarding what I take from The Happiness Project as I reflect on each topic. I am excited to have the opportunity to take a little time to myself to read and reflect on these ideas. It means even more that this process was inspired by a small, meaningful gift from one of my best friends.

Have you read anything similar lately? What was the biggest lesson that you took from it?

"Happiness comes not from whaving more, not from having less, but from wanting what you have." {G.Rubin}

Happy Friday,

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