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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happiness Project Continues...July.

*can be found on Amazon
It is that time again. Time to recap June's assignment from the book The Happiness Project by author Gretchen Rubin, and to outline what is in store for July. As mentioned this is my second go through for me on this book. The first time I did not put much effort into it all as I should have. I slacked off. But I truly did not wish to do that this time. So sharing it with you, my readers is a way to keep me honest, force me to get the book off the shelf, read it and apply it to my life. So far so good for the first six months of my own personal happiness project. I am hoping by continuing to follow it, even in my own way, and perhaps also reading other books on the subject, that when the cold Winter months arrive, and I start suffering from S.A.D, that I can combat it in a healthier way and make it through and embrace life all through the year. 

(*this image and all images via google image searches for laughing or smiling women of the 1920's)
 Thought Gretchen says you can make your own lists of things to tackle in your life to find happiness, I find it easier to follow her short lists and just adapt them to fit my life, it just works out best for me. June's list of things to tackle was for the most part pretty easy, the theme for the month was Friendship, something I have become quite good at, well if you can count it all being on Twitter. 
  • Remember Birthdays. I have never had that issue. I write them all down on my callender, have reminder notices sent to me in my in box, yep, not a problem.
  • Be generous. I for the most part, always am. There simply was not too much to work on here. It is just part of who I am. So far so good. 
  • Show up.I always try to be there for others in a whole hearted way. I show up emotionally, and that I believe is what the author had in mind. I made a greater effort though with people that really just get under my skin, and tried my best to be there and not just in a robot kind of way. 
  • Don't gossip. Well not sure how good I did with this. Of course when you have daughters and you have a Mom  all of who ask about each other and their lives, you in a way gossip. Just impossible to avoid. But as far as friends, well not having any other than online friends, it is not a real problem.
  • Make three new friends. I did this, and then some. Sadly they are all on Twitter and not living in the same town as I am. But I have come to accept that I simply am not going to find a friend that has the same interests as I do in my town and so will just make due with the online friends....they are a swell bunch!

Now it is time to go over the assignment for July.  It is an interesting theme. MONEY. The heading says "Buy Some Happiness" I do go with a partial thought process that money can indeed buy happiness. When I have it I am quite a bit happier. When rent and bills are paid and money is in savings and we can even have a bit to spare, I am far happier than if we have none at all. I was so much more depressed than when we had none and each day was a struggle and filled with fear. BUT that being said, I think it holds true for me anyway, that I have to already be basically a happy person to begin with that once those worries are put aside I am happy and content without much at all over and above that. I know a few people with a lot of money and belongings that are never happy, and never will be , they are always chasing the rainbows and never quite find the end of them. So it is still up for debate if you can indeed buy some happiness in your life and if you can, is it long lasting or just a bandage?

The author, writes this in her opening paragraph " The relationship between money and happiness was one of the most interesting, most complicated, and most sensitive questions in my study of happiness. People, including experts, seemed very confused." I know for sure, as I mentioned above I understand that , because despite what I said above there are times when I am a bit blue even when money is available and I know many who have a lot of it and are never happy.

Gretchen, the author goes on to write " As I did my research, Gertrude Stein's observation frequently floated through my mind:    "Everyone has to make up their mind if money is money or money isn't money and sooner or later they always do decide that money is money  " Money satisfies basic material needs....." Yeah it's a head scratcher *giggle* even reading past those forst few thoughts had me still doing it. But let's move on, you can buy the book and figure all that out on your own. Let's move on to the assignment list shall we???

  • Indulge in a modest splurge. Ok twist my arm. Actually you might have to. It is so funny, I used to shop without a single thought, well maybe a couple...I am practical to a fault. Blame my Dad. To say he is tight is an understatement...well unless he is spending on items he wants. My Mom, the opposite, she has never met a dollar she has not liked to spend. Makes for an interesting internal battle within myself. BUT that being said, I am also generous to a fault. yeah I know , confuses me too! So prime example....there is a lot of goodies I am always swooning over and desiring, but when my daughter gave me the choice of getting perfume for Mother's Day or the wine tour we took last week, I choose the latter...I knew it was going to make my hubby happy, and as he does so much for me, I I wanted to sacrifice my gift to treat him. It is not that I do not and did not enjoy our day together and I like going to wineries, but really I wanted the perfume, I just have a very hard time now spending on myself. After the last few years of financial struggle, giving up and selling all my precious treasures, convincing my family I wanted to, that I wanted to go another direction with decor or my personal style, that I wanted to live with less, felt happier to do so, well now it is actually habit. I have also always, no matter how much I love something had buyers remorse, feeling guilty for spending a dime on objects. Funny though cause I almost push hubby , not hard as it is not needed, to buy a bottle of wine or two when we are out. I guess I do need to work on this. It is my birthday next week, so perhaps I can start there.

  • Buy needful things. Um, yeah. I do not have an issue with that once again if it is for someone else. But for me, I put off things I need , just as much as the things I want. Guess I have yet another thing to work on. 

  • Spend out. When I read this I was not sure what the author I had to read ahead. I normally do not read the chapter till after this post. But was unsure what to the author says this about what she meant in her own life..... "As part of my happiness project I wanted to stop hoarding, to trust in abundance, so that I could use the things up, give things away, throw things away. Not only that- I wanted to stop worrying so much about keeping score and profit and loss. I wanted to spend out." I GET it .That is ME! My whole adult life has been a financial roller coaster. We would be climbing, climbing and climbing , reach the top, be doing well, no worries, not a care in the world, no concern of not being able to have enough, and then we would dive down at a rapid pace and loose everything. All it would take would be a shove from life and it was a free fall and a hard thump. I mentioned my Dad is tight. He worries non stop about running out of money. He has always had enough, more than, but worries about living on the streets noshing on dog food. He obsesses. His Mom, my dearest Grandma, was very much the same, having grown up poor and then through the depression. She was a hoarder, as was my Grandpa, my Dad's two brothers and of course him, and though I fought it my whole life, often swinging the other way so very far I clear everything out, regretting it forever, then doing it all over again, and again. In a way the author wants to be able to do that to a certain extent, be ok with not hoarding and not clearing out, but I think in a healthier manner than myself who does that almost as a way to not cling to something I could loose, I just get rid of it before it happens. Messed up I know. SO, I think for me spending out is more about trusting in abundance. I have done without now for so long that when things go a bit better over the last couple months, and then June was a tighter time of it again, I panicked and started freaking out that we were doomed and back on rations and making due. Partially I am correct, but we are not doomed...not yet. The bills are getting paid as is rent, there just is not to be any extra from the paycheck coming on Tuesday. I also want to stop "keeping score" as the author puts it, learn to enjoy life , what I have, and can have and if I can not, be ok with that too. YES, I have a lot to work on in the department of "spending out".
  • Give Something up. Um, yeah, I have that covered. Not thinking that is something in the money area I need to work on...well unless you think outside the box. What if one looks at it as the something being worry, anxiety, stress over money. I would love to give that up. That is not to say I will not give up my particle, very frugal ways, but maybe I can temper them a bit in the coming month. 
So there you have what the assignment is for July, in my pursuit of happiness using the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It, I think might be the toughest month yet. A lot of soul searching will have to take place, a lot of release going on. I am not 100% sure I am capable or willing just yet to handle that. But I have to try. Of course add that to the fact that I am going to be 45 next Saturday just adds to it all. I am not ashamed of my age, but it gives me pause to be sure. Will this be the year my first tooth does fall out as they are looser than ever and help/aide has yet to come, will I be able to find help in time, if I do not, can we afford to take on payments to get myself dentures? That comes back to the money issue big time. Then there is the aging process that is going naturally, not sped up by poor health, and buying what I need to combat it in a small way...again that comes under the heading of money doesn't it? So yeah all this is intertwining this month for sure. I am just going to do my best to smile through it , hang on to the happiness I have built up so far, it is all I can do....that and hold onto my word for the year...Believe! It really does cover so many bases that one word. No matter the month, no matter what the situation or the amount of money coming in , you can either choose to believe it will all work out, or that it won' can in a way insert what Gertrude Stein said about money and say the same for the word believe...yeah might be stretching that a bit, but sounded good right???

 So with that I leave you to it. To what you ask? To work on your own "happiness project" can follow the basic list or create your own. As always I would love to hear how you are going about that, start a discussion, you can leave comments, send emails, go to the fan page and start a discussion page there ...would love to hear if you feel you need to find more happiness, how you go about it, your feelings on the list outlined. But of course if you would rather just sit back and read and absorb, follow on my journey from the sidelines, that is ok too. xx Just remember to .....

GIGGLE! **** It will aide in your happiness!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Great Happiness dictums -- especially the don't gossip one. I actually have a defining line about what is gossip and what is sharing good news. If it's uplifting and sharing of important events that people in our lives are celebrating, that's sharing good news! If they have to add, "But, let me tell you about..." and then the rest of the news discredits them or plants seeds of distrust or dislike, then it's gossip. The Bible has 141 proscriptions against gossip (so, it must mean NOT to do it). When people try to get you to dislike someone else or treat them as the enemy, run. Believe me, if they're talking about the them to you, they're talking about you to them... bad news. Bad news. I did a blog on it.


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