How I Started My Happiness Project

posted in: Wholehearted Living | 44

Before I give you my reasons for embarking on a happiness project, let me give you a bit of background if I may.

I can’t say it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to admit I have been going through a pretty weird season for the past couple of years.

I think this particular period is due in part to various events happening at the same time and colliding into the proverbial perfect storm. 

Allow me to quickly jot down the highlights:

  • My father unexpectedly passed away.
  • Two of my sons not only moved out but moved AWAY.
  • My adrenals decided to take a vacation with no clear indication of when they might return.
  • A shyster made my life so troublesome; I had to shut down a successful blog.
  • I am still unsure about what I want to do when I grow up.
  • And,  the grand finale, did I matter at all?


Self-Centered or Age Old Question?

I’m starting to wonder if I sound like an insecure, self-centered jerk.

Gosh, I hope I don’t because it’s not my intent. Perhaps, my questions are age-old queries. Queries all human beings have pondered at some point in their life. The “why am I here?”,  and “what’s my purpose?”

Deep down, I believe we all want the assurance that we matter, and our existence does indeed make a difference in the world.

Aside from the obvious – I have a husband and kids who love me – I wasn’t sure my life was of great significance. Apparently, knowing and feeling are not the same thing. While I cognitively knew I matter, I didn’t necessarily feel it.


My happiness project



Woe Me aka Having Pity Party

One the one hand, as justification for my feelings, I pointed to the lack of communication from my adult sons.  They were notorious for not keeping in touch, something I did not necessarily adapt to very well. While I did not nag nor complain to them, I did shed a few tears.

On the one hand, my parents were now deceased, and I lived half a world away from my birth country. My best friend had moved away, and my kids were starting to do the same. I sure felt sorry for myself–in truth I still do on occasion. I wallowed in misery more often than I should.

Blah blah blah.


I had plenty to be grateful for, and I was well aware of it.

So why did I feel this way?


Midlife crisis?


I wasn’t entirely sure.

All I knew with certainty is this; I wanted – needed – answers. STAT! right about now assistance would be welcome, as well as very much appreciated, thank you very much.

A “1-800-call-god” number would be perfect. Call. Ask my numerous questions. Get my answers. Move on.

Except, as far as I know, and last I checked, there is no such number, this means  I still have to figure “it” all out on my own. I plan on doing just that as soon as I figure out what “it” even is.


When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears

The saying “when the student is ready, the teacher appears” – which has alternately been attributed to the Buddha and the Theosophists – may sound like a nice platitude, but I have found it to be uncannily accurate.

Case in point: last Wednesday morning found me traveling to Durango, Colorado, to visit two of my boys. A nine-hour trip (one way).

Let me back up for a minute: I am an avid reader and have been so since I was about twelve. I currently read well over thirty books a year which for me is pretty pathetic actually.

You see, since becoming a mom or just having to “adult” as the contemporary culture would state it, I have a lot less time to indulge my reading addiction.

I never thought in a million years I could enjoy anything without pages and, had you said so, I would have most certainly called you a liar.

However, I do.

I enjoy my pageless books.

I love both my Kindle Paperwhite and now, Audible. These devices, while not as luscious as books, enable me to read while on-the-go. Thanks to their presence in my life, my reading consumption has GREATLY increased which makes me a delighted woman.


Free Book? Yes, Please

About a month ago, Audible graciously sent me an informative email to announce a blessed event. I could purchase one the books on my wishlist on sale while additionally, buy a second book for FREE.


Audible I love you.

A Stroke of Luck?


As “luck” would have it – I would rather call such events “serendipity” or “whimsy” – for my free book, I settled my choice on a book I had never heard of, “The Happiness Project.”

It sounded mildly entertaining, and it was free. I had nothing to lose.


My Long Colorado Trip

I listened to the first book, the one from my wishlist, on the way to Colorado (it was a great read by the way), and I listened to “The Happiness Project” on the way back.

All I can say is “wowzer.”

First, the narration, done by the author herself, was exceptional. I loved her tone, the warmth of her voice with a smidgen of mischief, in short, I loved it all!

Second, the subject matter was utterly fascinating to me. I was spellbound, and I do NOT use this word lightly.

I am not one to make ANY resolutions (ever) because I know I will not keep them. Why waste my precious time?

After listening to the book, I was beyond giddy at the prospect of starting my own happiness project.

By the end of my trip, my brain was fizzing with ideas. I had not only started to reread, or more accurately, relisten to the book (something I have just done a handful of times in my entire life), I had also decided to buy a hard copy of the book, brainstorm themes for my project, and start a Facebook support group.

My intent was also to catalog my journey via this blog.

Books usually inspire me, fill me with knowledge, make me dream or entertain me. However, rarely do they mobilize me to such an extent. In truth, I don’t mobilize at all.

Nevertheless, right now, I am bubbling with ideas and excitement.


My Happiness Project

I have an official start date of October 1st for my experiment.

Why not put it off until January when it is only three months away?

I have no compelling reasons to wait. Why put off until later something I can do now?

I have been brainstorming and making lists all day.

Indeed, when ready, my teacher did appear in the form a lovely New Yorker who happens to be an author and whose book Audible was kind enough to give me for free.

Thank you, Gretchen Rubin!

This Happiness Project is already working, and I have not officially started. I already feel happier, as well as a bit woozy, about the prospect of starting this new adventure come Sunday.



Support for My Happiness Project

If you want to join me, you can find various versions of the book here. Your local public library is another excellent resource. You may also find my Facebook Support Group by following this link.

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