Friday, January 22, 2010

The Happiness Project, Part II: April-August

For Part I.

In April, Rubin decides to Lighten Up in regards to parenthood. She takes more time for projects with her girls, instead of sighing about the waste of time they may seem to be. She decides to sing more, which not only brightens the household but also helps her keep her cool. She makes an effort to remember that the years really go fast and she needs to cherish each moment with her family. In this chapter, Rubin also showed her less favorable side, but as a parent-to-be it's always nice to know others get frustrated and angry at their children. She also writes about memory, "People remember events better when they fit with their present mood, happy people remember happy events better, and depressed people remember sad events better. Depressed people have as many nice experiences as other people - they just don't recall them as well."

In May, Rubin wanted to Be Serious About Play: have more fun, be silly, stray off the path. One of the best lessons in this chapter was about discovering what she thought was fun. There are plenty of ideas of what sounds fun. Sure, I can imagine that rock climbing or scuba diving could be a blast, but for me, it would be more an entire experience of stress and nervousness. She gives you the permission to realize if reading and watching TV is what's fun for you, that's OK. Don't underrate what you think is fun.

In June, it's all about Friendship. She yearned to remember birthdays, not to gossip and make new friends. Being there for friends can be a very fulfilling lifestyle. Helping them, supporting them, anything can turn around and make you very happy. She writes, "I certainly get more satisfaction out of thinking about good deeds I've done for other people than I do thinking about good deeds others have done for me." I somewhat agree with this, but I also get very warm-hearted when I think of the lovely things my girlfriends do for me. I think it's kind of equal both ways.

July was about money. Can money buy happiness? Rubin finds her answer, but also finds many disagree about this topic. It's another interesting chapter. I like when she gets into "overbuying" and "underbuying." I'm definitely an underbuyer. I don't buy toothpaste until right when we need it. We can be down to one roll of toilet paper before I buy more. We've thought about a membership to Costco, but that would really go against my underbuying personality! However, she points out that sometimes overbuying can be OK because it could mean less trips to the store, less stress about being out of things...

In August, Rubin Contemplated the Heavens. While part of the chapter was about spirituality, it didn't completely focus on that, but also on gratitude and, again, being thankful for what you have. One point she makes that I really responded to was about being excited when people are excited for you. She says she's not easily thrilled. Neither am I. But there are plenty of people around me who get thrilled for me about certain things (ex: baby inside me). Me? I'm always thinking ahead - where will this lead, what will this bring? Perhaps my less-than-thrilled nature makes me seem ungrateful for their excitement. I discovered that's something I could work on.

So, what do you think? Can money buy happiness? Do you get more from doing for others or what others do for you? Are you an overbuyer or an underbuyer? Do you remember happier moments better than sad ones or vice versa? What do you consider fun?


willikat said...

Since I'm undergoing my own Happiness Project, I really need to read this book or her blog or something.

1. Money cannot buy happiness. But, when you have it, and you manage it well, life is sure a lot easier. Which makes me happy. So. It's a little of both for me.
2. I think i get more for doing for others. But I feel like you, i am truly touched when someone goes out of their way for me, and I always remember it.
3. I'm an overbuyer. DUH.
4. I think I remember sad moments more. I'm working on that.
5. Fun: Gosh. it can be a range of things. I almost never regret stretching outside my comfort zone. Those usually create some of the happiest moments. But, I like to read and take it easy. I feel content, then. I agree with you, some things just cause more anxiety and fear ... and then I'm not having fun anyway.

Maega said...

I liked this book for the most part. I was hoping for something a little more tailored to help me think about my happiness project though- kinda like what you are doing with your questions!!
1. Money: I used to think it didn't, but after reading Rubin's book I'm not sure. I think it helps to have money, as to not worry about basic needs, then you can worry about happiness right?
2. I love the feeling that comes from doing something nice for someone (when they like receiving it too). But, I also like nice things done to me- unless I feel guilty when it is too nice...
3. Overbuyer/underbuyer- both. It depends on the item. With things like TP and paper towels I am an overbuyer. Other project oriented things I tend to underbuy and have to go and get more.
4. I remember happy times. Sometimes if I'm crabby the bad times come into mind, but not often.
5. Fun? Hanging out with you!!!

Thanks for the opportunity to jot these down- it is fun :)

manda said...

I didn't read your post until after book club because I wanted to go in without any outside influence. I loved your two posts. I think you capture the book well. It's memoir, and her blog is where you go if you want tips, discussion, ways to do your happiness project.

For me:
1. Money can buy happiness, to an extent. I agree with the studies, having money to a certain point will make you happier (not worrying about where dinner will come from would make one happy) but once you hit a certain mark it doesn't do much more.
2. I'm an overbuyer, and I do it for two reasons. Because I can get it cheaper and because I'm a worrier and it's not worth it to worry about running out of TP or conditioner.
3. I've never thought about this. I know moments of really high emotion (parents divorce, my confirmation, graduations) I don't remember at all. Overall, my memory is bad so I take lots of pictures and that reminds me of the happy moments.
4. Fun is changing for me. I've stopped finishing books if they bore me, I'm taking on new challenges (like container gardening, and cooking) I think it's the challenge, not the actual thing that is fun for me.

One other thing to say (long winded as I am). I love what G. had to say about the process of happiness, how you can get happiness from anticipating an event, the actual event, and then remembering the event. I love that. I've been working on enjoying the anticipation and not just wishing time away.