I started reading Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project this morning in bed. I had a bit of a grouch fest last night and felt like it was time to dive in. I've made it through the first two chapters and I'm loving it.
I am a list maker, and it's always exciting to find someone in the same boat. The level and refinement of lists made my simple 32 list seem a little feeble by comparison.
Not only does Rubin have lists- she has broken them down by theme, assigned them to a month, but she also has commandments and a principle by the end of chapter 2. Wow. I'm going to have to step up my game next year, I think.
There is something lovely about thinking that writing things down on paper and referring to them frequently can change your life. Fortunately, my experience, and the experience of clients I have worked with has proven this to be true. How amazing!
It's funny how suspicious we (and I definitely fall into this group) are of simple solutions. Want to be happier? Make a list of things you suspect would work, print out charts and have at it.
"It can't be that simple," we think. Notice I did not say easy. Following through with the items on this list is rarely easy. Sometimes it's not even easy to write the damned list in the first place- just ask my mother about her 59th birthday when I spent the entire dinner prying her list out of her. Charming.
Still, as Rubin helpfully pointed out in the intro, it's often the idiosyncratic and highly personal story that helps to show how something can be accomplished rather than a general list of universal ideals. I think the universal is harder to live up to and often impossible to relate to.
But when I read about Rubin struggling not to snap when she is irritated with her husband even though she loves him dearly? That is inspiration I can work with. Immediately, in fact during a phone conversation this morning with my gentleman caller about whether or not I am feeling better after my brat fit last night when he had to postpone plans due to an unexpected work deadline.
Out there, on the opposite coast, I know that Gretchen Rubin is biting her lip and breathing as she knows her husband is doing the best he can, so I am able to answer "I'm fine today" when I get the concerned call. And I mean it.