One doesn’t have to be unhappy to explore and appreciate Gretchen Rubin’s remarkable book, The Happiness Project. Even a happy person like me can find in this well-researched volume a wealth of strategies to cope with occasional blue funks or negative attitudes. An upperclassman at Rice told me during my deliriously joyous freshman year that she thought I was “one of those people destined to be happy always.” She was right. I feel very blessed and am grateful. But as I approach 70, I think I can do better: more exercise, less clutter; more belly laughs, fewer complaints; more listening, less interrupting. Rubin’s prime rule is “Be yourself.” Why should I try to like golf, shopping or bridge? I’m happiest playing the piano, writing this blog and reading to my grandchildren (hmm, I seem to have put Nina to sleep).
Gretchen Rubin, like Elizabeth Diskin, author of The Green Line, is a lawyer turned writer. She clerked for Sandra Day O’Connor and worked for the Federal Communications Commission before deciding that writing was her true passion. As a child she loved making books; now she has published several books and is working on another. In addition she keeps a daily blog, runs two children’s literature groups, and helps raise two young daughters. The Happiness Project is not at all fluffy; it’s larded with thoughtful quotes from the likes of St. Augustine, Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Johnson. Rubin made me think about certain traits I have and how to nudge them into the joyful column. It’s a book to keep handy whenever bad moods threaten. Added Feb. 20: Thanks to my son David for opening my ears to contemporary music and thanks to my niece Patti for finding “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, I now have a soundtrack for this post:
Best of all, here are pictures of my newest granddaughters that surely promote happiness.