“It is by studying little things,” wrote Samuel Johnson, “that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible.”
via The Happiness Project
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about happiness.
I generally consider myself a naturally happy person -- optimistic, positive…I go into most situations with a sense that things will turn out OK, and if they don’t, all will still (somehow) be right with the world. Despite this, for the last few months of 2009, I found myself, well…not so happy.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was “unhappy” during that period, as that seems a bit too drastic, but I was definitely in a funk, a bit bluesy, uninspired, irritable.
I’d like to say I know why, that there’s some perfect explanation for my less than stellar months, but other than a series of minor inconveniences (i.e. a house full of swine flu, botched travel) there really was no smoking gun.
So I spent some time on a long post-holiday car ride thinking (and scheming) about what I would like to do, experience, change in 2010 to get the happy back. Then as if by fate, the entire month of January has been peppered with all sorts of thoughts on happy (apparently “happy” is all the rage.) First there was public television's three part series on happiness, "This Emotional Life", then I got a note in my inbox about Gretchen Rubin’s new book “The Happiness Project”, not long after, I read Abbey’s fantastic post and started immediately thinking about “absolute and perfect happiness— the ten to twelve events that comprise a whole life.”
Not wanting to over-think things (while I believe happiness is often complicated, it's usually staggeringly, strikingly simple, no?), I decided to just sit down and make a list of the things that make me the happiest, and then commit to doing those things (far) more often in 2010.
So after much musing, here are a few things* that make me happiest (in no particular order)…
*I should note that my hubby and girlies make me incredibly happy, but for the purposes of this exercise, “spending time with them” is a given.
- Cooking a great meal (ideally with a kitchen full of collaborators)
- Riding my bike (simple but immensely pleasurable)
- Listening to music
- Road trips (ideally spontaneous... Bryan always drives and I do tons of reading, which leads me too)
- Reading (I'm never happier than when I'm reading)
- Seeing art
- Spending time with inspiring women (the time at Alt cemented this for me)
- Making things with my hands
- Being fully unplugged...
Strikingly simple. Maybe even pat and boring, but in reviewing the list, I realize I spent far too little time doing these things during my funk. There was far too much time spent online instead of lost in a book, in the mall instead of making something, eating out instead of cooking, over planning instead of embracing spontaneity... all with the TV on and the music off.
What are the things that make you happiest? What will you do more of this year?