Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Book Review: The Happiness Project

Ever felt like you were in danger of wasting your life? Or maybe you just feel like life's ok but something's missing? 
Then maybe this is the book for you...

A couple of years ago when I was leaving Darwin for Bali a friend handed me 'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin. "It's a good holiday read," she said.

First published in 2009 I was late to reading this New York Times best-seller, I'd heard of it but there was something about it that made it sound...sorry Gretchen...a little...cheesey.

On the other hand, this book was a perfect holiday read for me because it is a mix of two of my favorite genres - memoir and personal growth/self-help.

In case you missed this read at the height of its popularity it is written by New Yorker Gretchen Rubin, a mum of two young daughters, happily married and fulfilled in her career as a writer.

So why undertake a happiness project? Gretchen had a realisation on the bus one ordinary weekday morning that perhaps she was in danger of wasting her life.

"As I stared out the rain splattered window of a city bus I saw the years slipping by 'what do I want from life anyway?' I asked myself, 'Well I want to be happy. But I had never thought about what made me happy or how I might be happier'".

And so Gretchen set about focusing on happiness, studying it, questioning it, and ultimately living her version of a happiness project - everyone's will be different Gretchen tells us - and then writing a book and a blog about it that has become wildly popular.

The book is divided into 12 chapters one for each month covering a specific topic - marriage, parenting, exercise and so on, with each month having a set of tasks to complete.

I found the book fascinating and irritating at the same time (sorry Gretchen about the irritating comment I will explain!)

I was compelled to read it cover to cover and to take notes but there were aspects that I couldn't relate to and in some ways the whole concept felt like a forced or clinical way to approach life and being happy.

I'm a Virgo and we Virgos love to order things but the idea of a checklist or spreadsheet to check off happiness milestones? That was the irritating part, but hey what would I know? Over 3.5 million copies have been sold!

I admire Gretchen for taking the time to write her project down. Her voice is clear and she's honest about the set back and detours on her own happiness project.

For me Gretchen's book isn't so much about purely about happiness,  I think happiness is fleeting it comes and goes like all emotions, the book brings into stark reality that days can slip away without us ever really doing things that we say we want to do.

This quote from the book says it all -

"The days are long, the years are short".

So make the most of them. And designing a happiness project of your own might just be the way to do it.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...