The Happiness Project – 5 Stars!

The Happiness Project


Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun


Gretchen Rubin

5 (Gold) Stars!


(Note to the author even though I read that you do not read reviews of your own work, and besides, I am a pretty small fish, but in case  you do read this…Reading this review may contribute slightly to your overall happiness.  I love this book, and I love your writing!)

I love this book!  I am currently reading it for the second time.  Then I am reading “Happier at Home,” also by Gretchen Rubin.  I also read Gretchen Rubin’s column “The Happiness Project” in Good Housekeeping.

In fact, check out page 112 of June 2013’s Good Housekeeping in which an interview BY Gretchen Rubin WITH Susan Cain is printed.  You might die of happiness.  So maybe don’t read it.  If you do, be careful.

This book was a gift from one of my Real Life favorite women, my sister-in-law Cara.

The author took one year to focus on researching happiness and boosting the happiness in her own personal life.  She focused on one aspect of happiness every month.

It didn’t hurt that she also has – I assume, based  on her own descriptions – a sweet, sexy husband and two wonderful daughters.  “Me too!  I think I will like this book!” I thought.  I also love the cover.

When I read the book for the first time two years ago while we were on our Nelson family vacation in Colorado, I looked up at several points during my reading.  In the distance was a beautiful mountain range.  Next to me was my Mom, one of my favorite people in the whole world, and directly in front of me on the deck were my niece and nephew playing.  It was such a peaceful time, one of the best weeks I can remember.  But it SO clashed with how my life at home was going.

Benjamin Beaver

Benjamin Beaver was carved right into the logs of the cabin where we stayed…along with his footprints.

Every time I looked up from my book I would think “Life should not be this hard.  I should not be this stressed all the time.  Everything in my life is so good.  Well, except for work, but I love veterinary medicine.”  At the time, I only worked one day a week, and had for several years, but I hated it, and I was miserable the rest of the week too.

It wasn’t that being on vacation was more restful than Real Life.  It was just such a stark contrast to Real Life that I hadn’t realized how anxious I had been all of the time for a really long time.  I knew life would not always be a vacation in the mountains.  But I don’t need the mountains.  I don’t need vacation.  For me, my family and a good book are about all it takes to make me wildly happy most of the time.  And for that whole week, away from work, I was wildly happy again.

Two months later, I quit my job, started my dream job, and have been wildly happy…remember, my idea of “wild” is family, a good book and being mostly content most of the time – ha!…I have been wildly happy ever since.

I would like to think – in fact I KNOW – this book was a part of the kick in the butt that got me here.  I also know that life is a lot more complex than that.  Life circumstances, family support and my own decisions all helped lead me to where I am today – I promise if that major life change had blown up in my face, I would not ever blame a book or an author or even Life or family – I took some pretty big risks knowing I was deciding to take them!

That being said, “The Happiness Project” was part of the beginning of a new chapter of happiness for me.

THANK YOU Cara for the book.

THANK YOU Gretchen Rubin for writing it.

I LOVE this book and will be forever grateful for this part of that turning point.

And now, two years later, in a happy and stable career situation, and with life overall just really good again, I can read the book a second time from a healthier place and say “Some of these things would be really fun to try.”

And so I will.

The first time around, thinking of starting my own unique happiness project from scratch was just overwhelming.  Yes, because of Life, but also because I like boundaries, rules, lists of things to do.  An open-ended happiness project would not work for me.

I have decided this time around, I will do a year long happiness project, but go literally by the book, starting with Month 1, in which, for part of the month’s focus the author dealt with clutter.  This has always been a struggle for me, and always makes me happy when I have clutter under control, so I will start here and see where the year takes me.

May you always be surrounded with as wonderful of family and friends as I have, may you always have the courage (or insanity) it takes to make the Big Changes and little changes that need to be made, and may you have a book as good as this one  to inspire you and the down time to step back from Real Life and read it.

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One Response to “The Happiness Project – 5 Stars!”

  1. She talks about how money CAN buy you little bits of happiness, when you use it properly. She talks about overcoming her under-buying habit to stockpile toilet paper, so that her family will never run out!! Using money for projects with her kids, and using money to make her home a happier place. She talks about taking time to loosen up, laugh more, play more, try new things, form groups with like minded people… and living your life in an ATMOSPHERE OF GROWTH. Thats something that resonated with me, I’ve always been one to enjoy learning things, experiencing things, challenging myself. In fact, I feel shriveled up inside when I don’t get to do something creative every day. Thats part of the reason that I have the blog.

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