Before I lay out 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 peculiar life season for the past couple of years.
I believe this unsettling period is due in part to various events happening at the same time and colliding into the proverbial perfect storm:
Gosh, I hope I don’t because it’s not my intent. Perhaps, my questions are normal and ancient 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 is not in vain.
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. While I cognitively knew I matter, I didn’t necessarily feel it. Yes, indeed, I was in party-pity mode.
One the one hand, as justification for my emotions, 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 neither nagged nor complained to them, I did shed a few tears.
On the other 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 plainly felt sorry for myself. In truth, I still do on occasion. I certainly 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? Maybe.
Hormones? A definite possibility.
I wasn’t entirely sure of the causes of my unrest. All I knew with certainty was this; I wanted—needed—answers. Stat! Indeed, 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 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.
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 sons. A nine-hour trip (one way).
Let me back up for a minute: I have been an avid reader since I was about twelve. I currently read about 200 books a year. As “luck” would have it—I would rather call such events “serendipity” or “whimsy”—Audible gave me the choice of a free book (Audible I love you). I settled on “The Happiness Project.”
It sounded mildly entertaining, and since it was free. I had nothing to lose.
I listened to “The Happiness Project” on the way back from Colorado.
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. I was spellbound, and I do not use this word lightly.
I am not one to make any resolutions. Ever. This is the case mostly 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 and brainstorm themes for my project.
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.
I have an official start date of October 1st for my experiment.
Why not put it off until January when it is only but three short 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.