For my birthday (11/5 if you want to remember it in the future) my son gave me The Happiness Project. by Gretchen Rubin. I thought it was an intriguing choice. With respect for him, I won’t spend words talking about the personality styles of my sons. What I wondered was whether this was something he thought particularly appropriate for me or was it a projection of his sense of self. Fairly soon after giving it to me, he checked in. “So how is the happiness project going?”
That makes the question clear, right?
I have been formally and informally evaluated (by numerous bosses, co workers, students, residents, and patients) as being serious, but with a very in tact sense of humor. I have not been evaluated as seeming unhappy. OK if you asked the 7 full or interim chairs of my department if they think I am happy, I confess I have no idea what they would say or what their criteria might be.
Do you have a clue whether your bosses, your co workers, your friends, your family think you are happy? And if you drew a line from 0 to 100, 0 being morbidly depressed and unhappy and 100 being ecstatic all the time, where would you rate… self rating or by others? I admit to a slight bent towards paranoia since getting the book, wondering how many, like my son, think I will benefit from a happiness project, well any more than any of us could. ( i think we all could, but not at the expense of that which drives us to seek and work for a world that is better…OK, I think it is how to have both.)
I am reading the book. There are great tips. I like the “enjoy the now”, “sing in the morning,” and many more that challenge me. Others I do, routinely. And I guess I am glad. Think of the Eeyore my son would think I am if I were not generous, open to people’s feelings, looking for ways to be off the path, collecting (ok very small that way…two means a collection). I do sing, not in the morning. I need other voices around me to find my part and I don’t have other voices with me in the shower, not that I am opposed to it, just is not there. I think I have done a good job at stop nagging. As for not wanting appreciation: I plead I am human. OK, I will take it on…not being a martyr in the not wanting appreciation, that is hard. I am human. It is a work in progress. I am a work in progress.
Write a novel? Forget about results? OK. I have not written a novel. I have written a manuscript. And I cannot forget about those results. I am carrying the stories of many people, including the 30+ contributors to this work, and feel a responsibility to bring it to print. These narratives need to be shared. What shall I do next to get it there while waiting for replies?
Happiness…I think I have it a lot of the time and it is multi-tasked with the things that weigh on my mind: things out of sync with my values and yet realities at work, my kids’ health and challenges, the fears of waiting for the other shoe(s) to drop, and wanting this manuscript to become a book. In the meantime I will read and find those tips in The Happiness Project that can grow me and maybe reassure my son that I am not Eeyore.