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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

JOIE DE VIVRE...The Happiness Project Continues.

Yes, I am a few days early with my monthly look back and look forward of my own personal Happiness Project, based on the book by Gretchen Rubin. The reason for this is my youngest daughter is having oral surgery and will be staying with us for a few days, and thus not entirely sure how much time I can devote to blogging. Often I can only write if I am by myself, music playing or even in dead silence. So decided to do the post today. 
When I last did a "happiness post" it was of course the end of June and July was the focus. The theme for July was "Buy Some Happiness.....MONEY" ;luckily for me it was going to be a simple month....there was times in the past this was not the case, where we did not have two dimes to rub together, but hubbies job is picking up just a bit and so there has been a bit to spare after the dust settles. 

The first assignment had been to Indulge In A Modest Splurge.So being the dedicated person I am to following through, I did just that...a few times. I have purchased earrings that cost more than I normally spend. Ordered luxurious creams, bought powder puffs that for the most part shall just sit on the dresser, I have been getting iced coffees a couple times a week and when recently on our coastal daycation I bought palm sized French style Macarons. I think I passed the assignment. It was hard at first, after not spending anything for two years if not deemed a "need", but somehow I managed. 

Speaking of that, the next thing on the list was Buy Needful Things. So, I purchased new make up, and even a new bra. Check that off of my list. Easy..well after I got over how much I was going to have to spend. That was the next thing Spend Out. According to the author this was to address hoarding...not buying anything new because you had the items, and perhaps not in best shape, they were useable or keeping them for a rainy day instead of using the items.It was also addressing, the not keeping score of getting your money out of something...the description went on and on, but it did resonate with me. After two, well three very tough years I was very guilty of all the above. So I cleared out items and gave to the Goodwill. I threw away things I knew were too old to keep, or past their prime, and I even edited things in drawers and the was very freeing...and all at once fit the last assignment, give something up. 

There was so much I needed to give up that went past physical items. Friendship that were not working for me. Ones that despite "ending" it a while back I continued to send a text on a birthday, or send a what I am up to, how are you doing letter. I gave up practices, thought patterns and bad habits that simply were not doing me any good. It was incredible how much stress lifted. I think out of all the assignments for July this had the biggest impact. I just hope I do not back track. 

I want to smile , even during down times, times of stress, and even through my every day physical pain I live with...too hold onto happiness when it seems it is being tugged away.  
 Upon reading the assignments for the month of August, which is "Contemplate The Heavens...ETERNITY", I realized the assignments just were not going to mesh with life right now. I did not find them feeding into what I need to make me happy, and well I had done them all last Winter from late December and all through the cold, gray and depressing months. I have been there done that. 

  • Read memoirs of a catastrophe...Really, how unhappy can you get? I understand the reasoning behind it, I do.but....
  • Keep gratitude notebook...I have been doing this nightly since December, and it does help.
  • Imitate a spiritual master...Well I already try to say to myself "What would Jesus do?" So truly, I do believe I have that base covered enough as well. 

 So what was I to do?I needed something for this post. Well I have been reading the perfect book each night before I go to bed. Bonjour Happiness! Secrets To Finding Your Joie De Vive by Jamie Cat Callan. On Amazon, there is a description for the book...

"French women didn't invent happiness. But they know a thing or two about joie de vivre--being alive to each delicious moment.As a young girl, Jamie Cat Callan was fascinated by her French grandmother. Though she had little money, Jamie's grand-mère ate well, dressed well, and took joy in simple, everyday pleasures. As Jamie journeyed through France as an adult, she gained more insight into the differences between French and American women. French women--whether doctors, shop owners, or housewives--don't worry about being thin enough, young enough, or accomplished enough. They age gracefully and celebrate their bodies. They know how to balance their lives--to love food without overeating, to work hard but not too much, to relish friends and family, and still make time for themselves. Now Jamie draws on everything French women have taught her and shows you how to:
Buy and consume less--and enjoy more
Look like a million Euros on a few francs
Find time to be alone
Flirt à la Française
Rediscover your own mystery
Perfection isn't attainable, but happiness always is. And this uplifting, revelatory book shows every woman how to embrace it--and savor it.  " 

I am LOVING this book. I discovered it on another blog and purchased it as soon as I could. I read a chapter a night.So many things I found that I do or have been doing already fit into the "French Lessons" that are at the end of each chapter. Plus even looking at the list above I can check them off without any issues what so ever. Although in this social network age, being truly American and blogger does make it hard with the "mystery" part. I am an open book. 

I find this book a lovely mix between when I did my French Girl Series of blog posts ( French Girl Friday's if you want to seek out the back posts look at top of this post there is a listing for French Girl Friday) a nice dash of Queen of Your Own Life, The Happiness Project and a few other books I have shared with you since beginning this blog. I am up to page 135, and if it were not for my eye lids closing out of exhaustion each evening, I am sure I would be done with it already...I will be sad when the last line is read. 

I was reading the chapter "Zen à la Française " under the heading "Cafe Society" and realized I had been doing something that makes me very happy a lot once the weather turned warm, and that I rarely did it when the rain began this past season...and perhaps that was one of the reasons I was often quite blue. The author spoke how the French will sit in a cafe' for hours on end. They enjoy watching people, and people enjoy watching them as they sit there...and they just sit. No chatting on the cell phone, no computers, " a place to be alone with their thoughts" ....this is the readers digest version of course....and it occurred to me as I said that I am often most at peace, find a great deal of inner happiness when I am sitting in a public place and people watching...I find my joie de vivre when just sitting, breathing, and soaking in the world around me...just doing nothing...just being, even if for just a bit of time. Now I know what you are saying, " being that you stay at home, do not work, etc. etc. do you not already sit around doing nothing?" The answer is a yes and no. I am doing my chores. I am feeling guilty if I am not exercising, I think about what I need to do for my blog, for the author said we are rarely never doing "nothing" even if it appears so. 

So for my August "Happiness Project" for myself I am going to make sure I start seeking my joie de vive and go back to getting in touch with my inner French side...even if there is no real proof in my family tree that there is any French blood in me, and if there is it is the tip of my pinky worth, and add that in with my monthly assignments, while continuing adding in a dash of Queen Of Your Own Life ...I think that sounds like a mighty fine plan...How about you? Have you been working on your own assignments for finding more happiness in your every day life? 

Whatever your plan is to find more happiness, keep helps!


  1. Ruby, I loved this post. I can tell lately a change in you. You seem lighter, happier, more joyful and I'm so happy for you. I love reading about you adventures. Now, you've made me feel I simply MUST have this book!!!! I'm going to purchase it soon ... sounds just perfect. As for sitting in cafes without a cell phone, etc. I've been in my car quite a bit for the last couple of days. Most often, the radio is on, but I felt I just needed the quiet to think while driving, so I turned off the music, opened the window halfway to the fresh air and it was so wonderful. I could think so much better. We forget sometimes the simple things of childhood .. we didn't feel we had to have music at every turn, we certainly didn't have cell phones following us everywhere. Sometimes you just have to draw a line in the sand around personal space and say "quiet time." All the best on finding so much happiness that you just don't know what to do! ;) Love.

    Sandy at Ooh La Frou Frou

  2. OMG! If I say I told you so, you'll think I'm one of those people who say 'I told you so,' and then I'll feel bad, which is the direct opposite of the Happiness Project, but the truth is, I told you so... there, I've said it. So, sue me. But, what I did want to say is that I hope your daughter's oral surgery came out all right and that she'll be chomping on steaks and peanuts before long. (Unless, she's a vegetarian, has an allergy, or something very 21st century.) {{{HUGS}}}


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