I recently finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. The book was my reward to myself for not quitting my job in January. It didn't quite live up to what I was expecting. I certainly liked the CONCEPT of the book (taking a year to explore happiness and what that means to the individual, and how to create more of it), but I really didn't like the author and the things she chose to work on for her happiness project. I read the whole thing (despite wanting to give up because it was making me more upset than happy at times), and while I enjoyed the chapter where she focused on writing and books (clearly her passion, so it made for the most interesting reading), and some of her conclusions at the end of the project, I didn't enjoy her overall tone and default attitude about things. Particularly the way she acted as if it were such a huge task to not yell at her husband all the time. *shakes head*
Regardless, the project is a good idea, and like Gretchen says repeatedly in the book, "Everyone's happiness project is unique." That is very true. I am definitely NOT Gretchen Rubin (I probably wouldn't even be friends with her), but I do know what makes me happy.
I also know that recently, due in large part to working behind a desk, something I swore I'd never again do, I haven't been the happiest person in the world. I haven't been the happiest me I can be, and I know, because I have experienced real happiness, and this ain't it.
I'm working behind a desk in an effort to save up for the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training I've wanted to attend so badly for so many years. I'm working behind a desk in an attempt to earn a job that will help me keep my promise to myself to never work behind a desk again.
In an ironic twist of fate, I am sitting in a chair (which is horrible for your body) eight hours a day, answering phones and directing calls for the healthcare system. A system I myself constantly buck in favor of doing yoga and eating healthy.
The job has made me so miserable that I hadn't been going to yoga, I've barely touched veggies, and I'm pretty sure I've gained at least fifteen pounds since being here. (They said I would, too. With an almost bizarre sense of pride, while showing off their fitness equipment, even, they laughed as they mentioned that we new hires would likely gain the "company fifteen".)
In other words, I'm in danger of succumbing to the system I'm working for but otherwise carefully avoid. It's a battle with my conscience on a daily basis, that's for sure.
I keep telling myself that if I can just stick it out, the reward will be so wonderful and I will be so proud, but the cost is a year of misery.
Reading The Happiness Project reminded me of something I already knew: That I could not settle for a year of misery, I had to figure out how to get and STAY happy during this time. I can't just wait for happiness until I get to teacher training. I have to BE happy when I get there. Or else it won't make me happy, either.
I had started a new 60 day yoga challenge on January 11th, and I realized I'd inadvertantly started my own happiness project. I'll be approaching mine differently from Gretchen. Instead of picking a whole bunch of things to focus on each month, I'm picking one. One thing, for thirty days. The goal is to have each thing carry over into the next month, so that by the end of the year, I'll be more in tune with my own happiness. And instead of doing it each month, I'll do each thing in thirty day chunks.
Included in this happiness project is blogging, because I've realized just how much I gain by blogging, even if no one reads it. Whether I like it or not, there is a writer living in my head that won't leave me be. When I was a kid, it would narrate everything I was doing for a future novel. These days, it narrates everything I think for a future blog post.
Blog posts I'm not writing.
Hopefully blogging again will help clear up some of the mental clutter I've gathered since having this job, and also inspire me to think thoughts that would inspire (in turn inspiring me) others rather than depress them (or myself). Blogging regularly, though, is not on the schedule until May. Before that, I'll be working on some other projects (and blogging when I can make myself).
My happiness project is as follows:
Jan 11th - Feb 9th: Yoga - Go to yoga every day. (completed)
Feb 10th - March 10th: Gratitude - Write down things I am grateful for in my life as it is every day, to remind myself how lucky I am and that everything is perfect as it is. (in progress)
March 11th - April 9th: Food - Re-introduce veggies and juicing into my eating habits.
April 10th - May 9th: Hooping - Hoop every day, and post videos at least once a week.
May 10th - June 9th: Blogging - Blog daily.
June 10th - July 8th: Meditation - Meditate for fifteen minutes daily.
July 9th - Aug 7th: Hug Nation - Watch back episodes of Hug Nation daily, download Halcyon's Morning Meditation and listen to it in the morning.
Aug 8th - Sept 6th: Creativity - Start and work on This is Not a Book daily.
Sept 7th - Oct 6th: Friends/Socializing - Go to Open Stage every week, make efforts to attend other social gatherings.
Oct 7th - Nov 5th: Writing - Write every day, participate in LJ Idol.
Nov 6th - Dec 5th: Knitting - Start a new sweater, and/or work on the Masters Knitting Program from the Knitting Guild Association.
Dec 6th - Jan 4th: Singing - Sing every day. Possibly in front of people.