Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happiness Project

I was poking around Slate today and stumbled across something called “The Happiness Project”. I immediately thought “THAT’S what I need! A Happiness Project!” Given my present state of mind, this is an excellent rabbit hole to fall down, and also well-timed since I’ve sort of been at a loss as to what this blog is actually ABOUT. And so, until I get sick of it or change my mind, this blog will now be a tiny bit more focused on this endeavor.

Also? I turn 38 tomorrow, which as many of you know I have been dreading for A Whole Entire Year. And I’m thinking, what better way to launch 38 than to focus on happiness?

And so, let me commence. First, I will interview myself, following the questions others have answered on Slate:

1. What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
Long hot baths. This is so critical that the presence and condition of a tub is the make-or-break decision on apartment hunting. Other things making me happy right now: buying tulips, knitting & quilting while watching to DVD’s of my favorite shows (Eureka, Eli Stone, and the BBC show Coupling), playing with the cat, baking, emails and phone calls from friends, anticipating lilac season, my quilt projects, singing (however badly and off-key it may be), and writing funny stories about my family (and hearing my writing class laugh in all the right places).

2. What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
That I am completely and utterly responsible for my own happiness. And, that some people actually believe that pursuing your own happiness is selfish.

3. Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
I'm pretty stubborn about things, and sometimes that can be a problem.

4. Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you find very helpful?
Lately I’ve been singing “Incomplete” by Alanis Morrissette. “One day I will be healed / I will gather my wounds / forge the end of tragic comedy”.

5. If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost? Or, like a “comfort food,” do you have a comfort activity?
Well, the baths help. I’m also finding that writing, and working on my quilts or other “art” projects, even if only for a few minutes a day, really helps me.

6. Is there anything that you see people around you doing or saying that adds a lot to their happiness or detracts a lot from their happiness?
Not being true to his/her self, and chasing material things out of a sense of “this is what I’m supposed to do”.

7. Have you always felt about the same level of happiness, or have you been through a period when you felt exceptionally happy or unhappy—if so, why?
I have been exceptionally unhappy a lot in my life, particularly over the past couple of years. . My friends tell me it’s all just bad luck. I am suspicious of that, as I am completely neurotic and assume everything is always all my fault. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

8. Have you ever been surprised that something you expected would make you very happy, didn’t—or vice versa?
Didn’t: every romantic relationship I’ve ever had.

Did: being an aunt. Who knew??? Also, learning how to knit socks made me deliriously happy.

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