I have a lot of other books to log, but there was a passage from this one that I don’t want to forget. So:
I have been sort of meditating on the concept of happiness for awhile. Personal fulfillment and the meaning of life or whatever. One of the perils of not having children is that the answer to the question, “What is the purpose of my life?” is not a no-brainer.
I don’t have the world’s best life, but it has been ridiculously privileged so I have come to the conclusion that it would be an insult to the Whatever High Atop the Thing to fritter it away being cranky about my utterly first world problems.
Gretchen Rubin started The Happiness Project with a similar line of thinking. Married with two kids, in Manhattan, professional writer, functional relationships with the families and solid friendships. But she too often felt irritable or guilty or insecure – and that she didn’t spend enough time focusing on the great things in her life.
Rubin spent a year reading books and trying different things and coming to lots of conclusions. Common themes involved Act the way you want to feel and Making others happy will make you happy.
True and True.
She was very systematic about the whole thing and made a whole lot of resolutions with varying degrees of success. There were several times in the book where I just wanted to slap her, but really? I can’t judge. I totally get the being irritable over nonsense. You should see me on Palatine Road about 4pm. Every damn day.
So good on her for recognizing and trying to change this thing she didn’t like about herself. And Holy Good for putting it out there where the judgy people are going to judge. Anyway, this was the passage:
“…We nonjoyous types suck energy and cheer from the joyous ones; we rely on them to buoy us with their good spirit and to cushion our agitation and anxiety. At the same time, because of a dark element in human nature, we’re sometimes provoked to try to shake the enthusiastic, cheery folk out of their fog of illusion – to make them see that the play was stupid, the money was wasted, the meeting was pointless. Instead of shielding their joy, we blast it. Why is this? I have no idea. But that impulse is there.”
I don’t know that I am ever going to be a Joyous Person, but damned if I am going to be the one to suck the energy and cheer from those that are.