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Reflections from "The Happiness Project" (the book I read twice in the Congo)

It's been a few months since I've read this book, but one thing has stayed at the forefront of my mind.

Every once in a while I peruse her blog, but not often enough.

Gretchen spends a lot of time (a year in fact - and she finds out she's not the only one who's done this) focusing on her happiness.  She thinks it might be selfish to focus on one's own happiness rather than focusing on other people's happiness.  She finds though that while you are focusing on your own happiness, you will in turn, naturally, help other people be happy.

Her adventures include: vitality, marriage, work, parenthood, leisure, friendship, money, eternity, books, mindfulness, and attitude.  The twelfth money is "happiness boot camp perfect" where she tries to work on all of her resolutions for the entire month.  I read this book twice while I was on my trip to to Congo.  Why? It was pretty good and I ran out of books and staring at the ceiling of a plane is not my favorite thing to do!

I don't remember all of her resolutions, but a few have stood out over the course of months and I've continued some.  One that I do almost all of the time is to complete any task that takes less than 2 minutes.  This has really helped me to prevent procrastinating, which is a serious problem for me.  As I type this there is a stack of laundry on my bed that will need to be put away before I go to bed tonight.  I should have done it earlier - one 2 minute fail for today, but definitely a win before bed because there's no way I'm going to sleep on the couch tonight!

Her month on friendship is of particular interest.  The resolutions are to: remember birthdays, be generous, show up, don't gossip, make three new friends.  I haven't purposefully taken up these resolutions, but upon reflections, I realize that I regularly strive for these things.

Remember Birthdays.  Birthdays have always been hard for me to remember, but with the facebook and google showing me contact's birthdays on my calendar, I am much better.  At least sending a text, if not a call.  It means something to me when people call, send a card, text, send me a message, or something for my birthday - so I've been trying to do the same.  I have been covering my nieces' and nephew's birthdays pretty well these past two to three years, which is a super step up.  And I'm going to New York in a few weeks to celebrate my baby brother's 25th birthday.

Being Generous.  After my time in the Congo I've been focusing on being generous not only in my time and money with others - but with my patience.  It's really difficult for me, but I want to be known as someone who is joyful, patient, able to help others, and just a nice girl to be around.  So I've been working on it.  Also being generous with my opinions - ie: not forming them hastily.  This is extremely difficult for me, but completely worth it.

Show Up.  Be there!  A few weeks ago, I was able to 'show up' to hang with my godson!  It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning!

Google creates these cool 'gifs' when you have a bunch of the same pic!
I'm LOVING them!  And it looks like Shep is punching himself out, which he wasn't!

Don't Gossip.  This has always been a hard area for me, but as I grow in virtue, it's easier to only share information that is mine to share.  And also to not be curious about other people's lives so much.  Or at least remembering the old adage "curiosity killed the cat"!

Make 3 New Friends.  I've been working on this, and succeeding.  I met and have gotten to know Stephanie after an introduction by my pastor.  It's been great getting to know her, her husband, and her three cutie boys!  I've also spent the last year getting to know Erica, the one with the twins, better.  I love being friends with her and getting to hang out with her cutie twins, who turned one a few weeks ago.  I've also focused on renewing some friendships I've had for a while here in Charlotte.  I realized a few weeks ago that I was becoming a little lazy in my friendships.  Taking them for granted a little bit, but not reaching out to spend time with them.  So I will count that as my '3rd' friendship if this other one I have in mind doesn't work out that well!

The rest of Gretchin's resolutions were awesome, and reading about her happiness project has encouraged me to live more intentionally.  When the book is unpacked in the new house, I think I may give it another read!


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