Well, she warned me.
In the introduction to Gretchen Rubin’s follow up to The Happiness Project, Happier at Home, she clearly states that, “…because this is my happiness project, it reflects my particular circumstances, values, interests and temperament.”
Though she doesn’t pretend that it is a self-help book, I nonetheless hoped that it would offer some concrete tips and suggestions about how to live a happier life.
Instead I found myself trudging through Rubin’s personal messiness in excruciating detail:
Her short-tempered outbursts with her children, resentments toward her husband, lengthy drama over her fear of driving, struggle to keep her resolutions, resistance to outside suggestions (like flat out refusing to try meditation) and her acceptance of, in my opinion, a less-than-exciting life.
…I don’t have much interest in many things that other people travel to find. I’m a picky eater, so going to new restaurants or trying a foreign cuisine isn’t particularly fun. I dislike shopping. I like visiting museums—to a point. I don’t speak any other languages. I don’t have many friends who live abroad. I don’t have a passion such as hiking, art collecting, or bird-watching to give me a reason to travel. Every once in a while, I spend the day without stepping foot outside our apartment, and I consider it a great treat.
Though I found the content tedious, Rubin does have a strong voice and eloquent writing style. Her depth of knowledge on the science of happiness is considerable and she flawlessly integrates literary and scientific references to back up her claims.
The book did offer some tips that I have incorporated into my life, such as making sure my family all gives warm welcomes and goodbyes, taking fifteen minutes a day to organize my digital photos, and after the third mention of a particular fragrance company, I did look them up online and ordered some new diffuser oils.
Mostly though, the book just made me feel grateful for my already happy life, in which I don’t feel the need to set my self long lists of happiness to-do’s.
I’m sure that many people will find this book inspiring and helpful, and will be inspired to start their own Happiness Projects because of it. As for me, I’m just happy it is finished.
Note: elephantjournal.com received this book for free, in return for a guarantee that we would review said offering. That said, we say what we want—good and bad, happy and sad.
Krista Bailie is a kinesiologist, photography instructor and visual artist living in Vancouver, Canada. She is the founder of Be Free Wellness Consulting, an online wellness company that helps people to find health through yoga. Contact her at www.befreewellness.com.
Editor: Jennifer Townsend
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