Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Book I Want: The Happiness Project

I know I did one of these posts recently, but this one has multiple layers to it. And it cannot wait, because I am excited, and I really hope someone out there can enjoy the hell out of this, too.

I borrowed The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin from a friend, and it's taken me an astoundingly long time to get halfway through. That's not a comment on its readability, but rather the fact that with every five pages I read, I'm inspired to go do something that will make my day-to-day life a tiny bit happier. That, to me, is the mark of a good book.

Rubin's book began as a decision to become a happier person over the course of a year. The book is divided by months of the year, and each month features a special focus, like vitality and organization, friendship, or romance. Reading someone else's indefatigable drive to improve, revitalize, and expand is very contagious, and her ideas are well researched and succinctly described. Her simple statements make you realize as you read that it really is easy to put away those papers, call a friend, sing a little song, and be a tiny bit happier for it.

Many of her points are the kind of things that need long-term maintenance (keeping the house organized and sending an email for every birthday), and I can envision all of those things getting exhausting to do every month, year after year. But in the end, it's just a matter of prioritizing: which of these are the most important to me? We all at least try to maintain cleanliness, stay in touch, and have fun on a regular basis; life does not fit into tidy compartments.

Tea, on the other hand, does.

Among other bursts of energy, The Happiness Project inspired me to beautify the tea cabinet. Before I got to it, there were random paper and plastic bags of tea on each of three shelves, interspersed with coasters, reusable tea bags, and five kinds of hot chocolate. Behold the reformation!

Some of my tea was labeled and in jars before this project, but what really got it rolling were the four matching Ikea jars I found second-hand for $5. It was so exciting to see them lined up, stuffed with aromatic leaves and decorated in simple calligraphy. (Stop judging me.)

I think it was that project that made me decide I need my own copy of this book. This is one of those that can take a long time to get through, and one you want to pick up again and again. This will be my want-to-do-something-but-can't-settle book.

And after I read five pages, I'll be ready to go and do again.

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