RAINDROPS ON ROSES AND WHISKERS ON KITTENS
Those of you who can fill in the next few lines of that song are clearly around my age or have a real jones for The Sound of Music. But for the younger or less inclined to watch anything in which Julie Andrews appears, that is a line from the song “My Favorite Things.“ Which means back in 1959, Rogers and Hammerstein were working on their own little Happiness Project or at least thinking about one. Writing The Sound Of Music would certainly make one happy and watching it has made millions happy for decades.
But before I got sidetracked by my own happy Saturday I was all set to write down my counter list to Gretchen Rubin’s. I do want to reiterate that I like her project and I read her blogs. But in terms of real happiness my list differs from hers. I read hers to Glenn and he said it felt like she was trying to avoid unhappiness or chaos, which believe me being a control freak myself, I understand that that can be totally happy making. But it has a flipside which is when things are not in order you are more likely to lose it. That is my personal experience.
So I have now had several days to mediate on my own happiness list.
Just to remind you the following is her list:
1. Make your bed.
2. Wear sunscreen.
3. Wear your seat belt.
4. Jump up and down a few times.
5. Pick up one object that’s in the wrong place and put it away.
6. Go for a ten-minute walk outside.
7. Eat a fruit or vegetable.
8. Put your keys away in the same place.
9. Touch everyone in your house with affection.
Bonus: 10. Go to sleep as soon as you’re sleepy, if you possibly can.
Now, TRACEY’S LIST:
1. GOOD HEALTH. No question– for me, good health for my family and myself comes first. I mean really nothing tops a doctor saying, “Your mammogram is fine,” “The polyp is benign,” “ Your arteries are clear,” “Your child only has a cold,” or “The lump is a cyst.” The words you want to hear from a doctor are “See you in a year.” I just think that is the most important happy making thing of all – and then you add its first cousin, feeling well. In order to live a good life good health really is key. Which I guess is why no matter what the problem one of the most widely heard responses is “At least you have your health” ( if you do). The only way I can see “make your bed” fitting here is if you are healthy you don’t need to be in bed, therefore you must make it.
2. SEX. Come on. What has happened to this country? We are so puritanical and focused on doing the PC thing. Sex makes most everyone happy. Honestly, what makes you happier: putting on sunscreen or having great sex? Unless you are putting on the sunscreen so you can have hot sex on the beach in Mexico. That is the only way sunscreen can make anyone choose it over sex. Do you ever hear of anyone leaving their mate for a tube of Neutrogena SPF90? Getting in trouble for some extramarital sunscreen? Or texting your husband to say, “Hey honey when you get home tonight have I got some sunscreen for you”? Get real good sex makes people happy. Even bad sex has been known to make people happy.
3. WORK. Work that you love. I don’t know outside of family and their health what makes me happier than working all day on a project I am totally absorbed in – looking up at the clock and seeing five hours have passed. Work that inspires you and makes you feel like you are doing exactly what you should be doing is happy, happy, happy!
4. EXERCISE. It makes you happy for all the right reasons. First off it is the biggest contributor to good health. The endorphins give you a rush like sex and when you are done you feel like you have really accomplished something. Exercise makes me really happy, even when I don’t want to do it. And then when it’s over I’m doubly happy; I’m happy I did it and I’m happy it’s over for the day.
5. LAUGHTER. Just laughing– my best memories in life mostly have to do with laughing. And the ability to laugh at yourself, wow that saves you a lot of problems and really makes way for happiness. In the last twenty-four hours alone we have had two major laugh sessions at home. Last night Taylor had me on the floor doing imitations of Glenn, who is able to laugh at himself. She got going and the two of us couldn’t breath we were laughing so hard. And then this AM, well, I have had a little run in with the self-tanner. Let’s just say it didn’t work and I look like I have a terrible disease. This has caused the entire family to break into gales of laughter every time I walk in the room. You gotta laugh. And if you can find the humor in situations where you want to cry well that is one of the great highs.
6. TRAVEL. Going somewhere away from home and learning or seeing something new. You don’t have to travel across the world; you can even do what we did a few weeks ago and be a tourist in your own town. You can get in the car – with a GPS – and just take off for the day. Climb on a train and head out of town and discover a new place for lunch and roam around. But going to bed at night having experienced something that day that broadened your vision of the world or learning about a new place and seeing new things almost always makes people happy.
7. OWN YOUR MISTAKES. This really has a way of making you happy as it then means you take the next step and fix them. It also allows you to feel like you are doing the right thing and takes you out of victim mode, which really and truly never makes anyone happy.
8. CLEAN YOUR CLOSET. This is in line with her direction to make your bed. But it’s a bigger job and has many benefits. First off most people need to do it and they all feel better afterwards. If this were not true The Container Store would not be the success it is. You always end up finding things to give away that you don’t need and someone, somewhere can use. This makes you happy. Plus every time you open your closet and see everything in perfect order it makes you smile.
9. RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS. Never fails, no matter how big no matter how small. It works. Just Because.
10. BUY A NEW LIPSTICK. Shallow maybe. But you know it really has a way of lifting your spirits. You can splurge and buy yourself a really fancy one like the new Tom Ford, which makes you feel really special and indulged or you can buy a Bigelow for $7.00 and tastes like mint and looks amazing. Either way it puts a pretty smile on your face in more ways than one.
11. OK – I’m going beyond – read a book. Turn off the computer. Put away the magazines. Turn off the TV, sit down and read a good book, it always makes me happy.
Have a great day.
Feel free to make your own list and post on the site! One of yours might make someone else happy. We all have our own way of doing this. Penelope called it digging for positives, it comes in many forms. There are so many things and once you start thinking about what makes you happy as opposed to what makes you unhappy it really starts a chain of good thoughts, and there lies the magic of The Happiness Project and undoubtedly why it is such a success.