Drum roll, please!
This post is my Happiness Project one year in review—which is long overdue since it ended September 30th of this year.
Indeed, it has already been more than an entire year since I started my Project. And, I am happy to report that, even though I am no longer posting monthly summaries, I am still going strong.
I stopped doing the monthly reports for two main reasons: 1) I was getting overwhelmed with selecting new monthly themes and keeping tracks of them all, and 2) the monthly reporting was too time-consuming and distracting.
I Am No Gretchen Rubin
I discovered rather early in the course of my Project was that I am no Gretchen Rubin. Not by a long shot. The woman is positively organized and driven. Apparently, these are weak areas for me. Let me rephrase that last sentence, I am different and that is okay.
Although my Happiness Project was set-up differently than hers, it was still vastly successful and, in truth, that is all that genuinely matters in the end.
I am rather casual and a bit of a butterfly—not organized and orderly. You can translate this carefree and rolling with the punches attitude as the proverbial “flying by the seat of my pants.” A notion which worked quite well for me.
I think this laisser-faire proclivity has helped me raise nine children without going insane.
Since my first commandment was “Be Florence,” I was okay with deviating from Gretchen’s blueprint as long as I was learning and accomplishing my goals—which I was.
My Happiness Project a Year in Review
The First Six Months
At the six months mark, I did a thorough review of all my themes to that point. Rather than rehashing what has already been said, I will put some links to the original posts below.
I will also put a link to each monthly summary.
Additionally, I think it may be a good idea to put the preparatory posts as well as the lessons I learned along the way and which I have already covered at length.
Then, I will go into the “meat”— as well as the lessons learned—of the last six months.
Finally, I will cover the reason why I plan to continue with my Project past the one year mark.
- How I started my Project
- My Commandments
- Words to Live By
- My Why
- Bleeding Themes
- My themes
- My First Lesson
- I Said Yes
- Week One
- Month One Lesson
- Month One Summary
- Date Like in The Beginning
- Month Two Summary
- Saying Yes
- You Smile a Lot Lately
- Words of Praise and Gratitude
- I Shall Not Fish For Goldstars
- December Summary
- The Extraordinary in the Ordinary
- My Christmas Gift Is a Grateful Heart
- January Summary
- February Summary
- Simple Breakfast Date
- Neighborhood Stalking
- Finding the Joy in Familiarity
- March Summary
- Up the Valley Down the Mountain
- The Then and There of Happiness
- Six Months Review: Part I, Part II, and Part III
My Happiness Project a Year in Review
I started a couple of themes thinking—at first—that I would derive pleasure from them. This turned out not to be the case. However, even my discarded themes became marvelous lessons in happiness.
These were the themes I discarded: one was getting a library card from the Community College and the other was painting rocks for a benevolent project called the Kindness Rock Project.
Even though I did not use the library card once after applying for it, I still derived some joy from going to the college to request it. First, I found pleasure walking on campus—after decades out of school.
A college library has a different feel than the public library—which I visit quite regularly. This step was certainly out of my normal routine and I found it quite enjoyable and whimsical.
As to the Kindness Rock project, I signed up for a couple of groups on Facebook which paint and hide rocks in my area.
I can say with certainty, there are some very gifted painters out there and many derive much joy and purpose from this project. One lady was masterful at this craft and her painted rocks were works of art. It was obvious she loved not only the decorating aspect but hiding the rocks as well.
On one another occasion, I purposefully went looking for one of her pieces. It is at this time I discovered I really had no genuine interest in this endeavor aside from maybe doing it once with my Littles as a craft idea.
From these two—seemingly—duds, I still learned a valuable lesson. I would much prefer to try something and discover it was not for me—or I had no genuine interest in the first place—than to nurse regrets from not having tried at all.
The Mixed Bag Projects
Keeping in Touch by Writing
My BFF and I still write back and forth on occasion. We’re both busy moms so this is not a regular occurrence.
Writing to my sons has died a slow death—or maybe a more fitting explanation is that I killed this action step with my bare hands. I lost my desire to write when I discovered that controlling busybodies enjoyed reading my notes.
As I write this post though, I have decided to maybe try again. My goal is to let my loved ones know that they are—well—loved even if controllers like to infer themselves in the picture.
On the other hand, I have taken on a new project along these lines for completely benevolent reasons. I write to a handful of individuals every month whom I know are struggling with life. I can necessarily touch a lot of people but I can touch those in my circle of influence.
Organization and Time Management
I have learned that to remain sane and happy, I must acquiesce to a certain amount of disorganization. Such is my life and my nature.
Moreover, I do not excel at being a homemaker. This is not my forte and I would rather put up with some disorganization and mess than stress over some disarray and clean constantly.
If I am to be organized and tidy, my best bet would be to seek help or to force myself to do it—which at this juncture, I am not inclined to do.
Alexa and Podcasting
I started a couple new projects mostly to do with work: Alexa Briefs and a Podcasting. I abandoned both of them.
I am still using two apps on a regular basis, Todoist, and Evernote. I love them! They help to stay—somewhat—organized and on top of things.
Marriage, Children and Me
Marriage, kids and “myself” have been my best and most productive themes. So, basically, relationships have been well worth any extra effort on my part.
The Greatest Lessons
By far my greatest lesson came out of my commandments, not the action steps themselves: be Florence and say yes have been huge for me. The other big piece of the puzzle had been awareness or mindfulness as some prefer to call it.
Being mindful to be my most authentic self and to show up in all my endeavors as myself has been amazing. The fruits I have reaped had been plentiful.
I would encourage everyone to start their own project, it’s well worth it! And if you have done one, I would really like for you to share your story!
Blessings and happy New Year!
PS: If you are curious, you can the book The Happiness Project here.