31: The Year of Happiness (or something like that)

If you’ve read this blog…ever…you know that me and happiness go back and forth. I continuously try for it and have gotten so much closer in the past few years in so many ways. So, for a while, people kept telling me “You need to read this book, the Happiness Project.” Never one to shy away from a good book suggestion, I finally gave it a try about a month ago.

I knew the premise – a woman took a year and month by month, she tried to do different things (and in some cases cut out different things) to try and make herself happier.

As a writer, I didn’t really like the book, because of her writing style. She’s a former lawyer, and it read at times like a lawsuit. Small tangent: Yes, I know what those read like because I used to have to read them at times as a part of my job at a community newspaper. JARGON CITY.

And then there was the month where she mentioned in passing that she was trying to curb her habit of eating a spoonful of brown sugar out of the jar whenever she passed it in the kitchen. WTF.

Anyways. Criticisms of the writing aside, I loved the idea. Each month, she was taking a different aspect of her life and focusing on it and how she could be happier in it. One month it was family, so she focused on creating good memories with her kids and new traditions and taking time to slow down and enjoy her time with them. Another month was work, and she made the promise to herself of a certain amount of writing a day. She also planned to write a book in a month – so she did.

The basic principles were there. I wanted to do it. I didn’t wanna copy it completely, but there was so much I could learn and apply on my own. And by doing it on my blog, I would have the opportunity to hopefully communicate with others who may be doing the same or who could give ideas and feedback.

Plus there’s the fact that I need this right now. Maybe more than before. I recently made the heart-wrenching decision to find a new home for my sweet puppy, because it’s what is best for him, though it won’t make saying goodbye any easier. I also recently made the decision to talk to my doctor about my medicine and making a change. My therapist – who I will somehow name a child after one day – and I have had some discussions and think this may help things even more with my moods and anxieties and depression. (I’m not going down in dosage again, it’s not that. Just FYI.)

So I need a distraction. I need a project. I need something.

As for a start date? What better than a birthday? Today I turn 31. (ACK). So why not make 31 the year of my own Happiness Project?

I don’t have it all mapped out yet, but I have started a bit of a list. (Go ahead, act surprised even though I know you’re not.)

But here’s the premise. Each month I focus on something different. The whole month I work on that and that alone. It may be something I only have to do once. It may be something I continue to do throughout the year as I add in the different months and their goals. I currently have 9 ideas for the project and have known since I finished the book which one I would start with.

The way it will work? At the beginning I’ll announce the focus and why. That month, I’ll do different things in that vein. We will see if it makes me happier, but as I’m writing this entry I’m coming to the realization that it’s not even so much about happiness, it’s about focusing on me, something I really don’t do and when I do I don’t do it well. (Drink every time I say focus in this post and you’re too hammered to read this sentence.)

Throughout the month, though, I’ll keep you updated of the progress and of what I’m doing to accomplish that month’s goals. At the end of the month we’ll see what changes/differences if any, it’s made.

And the first month starts today.

I didn’t wanna jump in TOO crazy-like, because turning 31 is a lot to process on it’s own (I’m OLD), but the first month I knew needed to be about cleaning up.

ME PROJECT, MONTH #1: Cleaning up, decluttering and dehoarding

I’m not messy. And I’m definitely not a hoarder. But when I moved last year? Boxes would come in I hadn’t seen or touched since I moved into my last place. So did I need what was in them? Probably not. Yet several are sitting in my guest bedroom closet, just kind of taunting me. Not that I have, like, other stuff to put in there, really, but I know for a fact in there right now are most of my folders from classes from college. WHY? Don’t tell A&E about me, guys.

Small tangent again: Is that show on anymore? I guess not. They brought Intervention back, though, so maybe there’s hope. Also anytime I watch that show it just makes me wanna throw out EVERYTHING. Also vomit.

I also need to admit I got a slight head-start on this month in a way. I have a ridiculous amount of T-shirts from college (because sorority and also free shit). They’ve been sitting in my dresser/closet/giant Rubbermaid container for the 9 years since I graduated just collecting dust, basically. I wasn’t going to throw them out or donate them because the sorority shirts at least, did mean something. And I spent a lot of cash on ‘em.

Luckily, a good friend’s mom quilts and makes blankets and is a pro. She’d just made my friend a T-shirt quilt out of her old lacrosse shirts and I asked her to do the same for my shirts and she luckily, thankfully, agreed. The Rubbermaid container full of shirts is no longer taking up space in my front hall closet and I’ll have an awesome new blanket soon that means something special.

I have a couple of other things in mind to do, but I’ll save those for later posts and update you on my progress as I go.

Have some ideas for my project? Are you doing your own? What’d you think of the Happiness Project book? Do you eat a spoonful of brown sugar every time you pass it in your kitchen?

Oh. And Happy Birthday to Me, I suppose.

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