The Freedom to Be You…thanks Gretchen

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project


My reading list for November has turned up an unexpected gem.

Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project is an account of the author’s journey towards finding more happiness in her life. Not that she was at all miserable with the status quo – loving husband, beautiful children, and the courage to make a mid-career transition towards writing – a profession thats she finds immensely fulfilling.

No, Gretchen simply set out to look for happiness in places where she wouldn’t have expected to find it. So begins a journey of self discover.

I’m only half way through, and have just finished the Chapter entitled ‘Play’ in which Gretchen resolves to take more time to smell the roses, to focus on having more fun in her daily life – doing silly things with her daughters, and starting collections.

The reason I wanted to blog this afternoon is to talk about one particular part of this chapter, in which Gretchen stands back, and takes a look at all the things she will never do. When I first started reading that, I was a tad overwhelmed by the word ‘never’. I like to think of myself – after several false starts – as an eternal optimist, and I truly believe that anything is possible.

And as I read on, I realised that Gretchen had hit upon some wisdom that was truly startling. And oh so simple. By striking the things that we don’t truly enjoy, and never probably will enjoy, off our to do lists, it frees us up to be who we actually are.

I was inspired, and instead of coming up with those lists of what i wanted to achieve, i began to make a list of things that i never will do because I don’t enjoy that particular thing. I was filled with happiness – I finally felt free to acknowledge my inner self in this respect without fear of judgement, or feeling less intelligent, worthy, creative by doing so.

My list will grow as I become accustomed to this way of thinking, but so far here it is

1) Even though I live in the country, I don’t particularly enjoy country walks. I love pubs, so i’ll wait there while you romp in the heather.
2) I have never, and will never enjoy jazz.
3) I’ve really tried with yoga. I really have. But I’m done. Never mind that it is meant to sooth the soul. It just makes me feel nauseous.
4) I don’t ‘get’ the 80s. It was hideous the first time round so I’m not particularly interested in reliving it. I will never attend an 80s themed party.

There i’ve made a start, and I already feel better for getting that out.

Now, i want to hear from you – send me your lists and i’ll blog those I love

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Posted in: Books, Editor's Pick

About the Author:

Since September 2012, I have been chief writer and editor for the current affairs and arts blog After Nyne, and now After Nyne Magazine (to launch February 2014).
I became a Huffington Post blogger in November 2012.
I am the author of two published poetry books Gold After, and Brittle Fires for Tempest Press's Virgo Rising imprint.
From September 2012 to February 2013, I was Founding Director of Tempest Public Relations, working with a range of clients including Irish American writer Micheal O Coinn, whose debut poetry pamphlet, Five Words, was published by my publishing house Tempest Press, and Callie Carling, author of breast cancer memoir Callie's Story, also published by Tempest Press.
I also acted as the official UK PR consultant to the US based Free Sara Kruzan campaign's Day of Action in London in 2012.
Before this, I was founding director of artist's agency Liquid Gallery - parent company of the Liquid Art Fair Battersea, and Nyne Magazine.
Outside of work, I have a keen film historian, with a particular interest in films from the 1930s to the 1960s. I am a voracious and omnivorous reader, and enjoy cooking, and country pubs with my husband and dog, Willow.

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