Continuing on my journey in a pursuit of happiness (a lofty goal but one everyone should make), I have been reflecting on what truly makes me happy and what things I just need to set aside to keep me calm and content. Sitting still in one place for too long time doesn’t do it for me. Making my way to a museum and seeing a stunning work of art does. I have been lucky to have traveled a bit in the last two years and I think that this may just become a habit I am not willing to break. Unable to quell the constant nattering in my head about going somewhere new and interesting, I am currently making final plans for my trip to Ireland with my eldest daughter. The excitement of getting on a plane and figuring out how to drive on the opposite side of the road is an unknown secret which I seek to conquer. I often ask myself: Who in the world would not want to make travel plans?
Reviewing my goals for the trip, I have to review what is important in my happiness project. The Happiness Project, written by Gretchen Rubin, is a book in which the author challenged herself to make small and significant changes impacting the happiness of her family, home and life. Whether it was getting more sleep, making quality more important than quantity or just realizing the cathartic shift after decluttering her space (yeah…to organizing and downshifting your life), Rubin sets out to redefine her life. In doing so, she shares her 12 Commandments (overreaching principles she calls them) to live by and a lengthy list of Secrets of Adulthood (truisms of lessons learned). The project encourages you to put together your list of guiding principles and lessons learned, so I compiled a list of my own ‘Secrets of Adulthood’ to live by in the second instalment of the Happiness Project series. I discussed the impact of friendships in the first instalment, which seemed to resonate with many people. I found this lovely gesture from a friend that had decided to invest in our friendship! She surprised me with flowers, coffee and a croissant last week.
Through the years, I have learned lessons from both my children (on having an autistic brother) and my parents (on how not to worry and be happy). Insights into life’s mysteries is a life long pursuit, don’t you think? Recently, in a conversation with a friend, she noted how she was stressing out about turning 40! FORTY??? Can you imagine? I told her that I killed it in my 20s, was winging it in my 30s, questioned my purpose in life in my 40s, and started not giving a flying fig in my 50s! In my 40s I learned so many things about myself. I could have handled a few things differently but ultimately, I regret nothing. Many of us start questioning our purpose, our marriages and our happiness when we approach our 50s. Is it that we know we are closer to the end than the beginning (because frankly, I can’t see myself celebrating my 100th birthday)? Or, is it that we know most of the heaving lifting has been done? We’ve worked on our careers, raised the kids, found the financial security of paying off the mortgage (still a pipe dream in these parts ). Could we possibly be we are retirement ready? Whatever the reasons may be, we have acquired at least a little bit of wisdom.
We tend to make bucket lists at this stage of the game. We want to travel more, work less and maybe even have an adventure or two. You can create your own list that helps you stick to your guns. Let’s be clear, I loved reading The Happiness Project because it challenged me to write AND post some of my core beliefs (and a few goofy rules). The bottom line is in my quest to be happier, I hope to make others happier too. I also hope you have a good chuckle at some of my secrets of Adulthood in my happiness project.
Secrets of Adulthood
God places people in your path for a reason … figure out why and enbrace them.
Never leave the house without lipstick
Support your friends (because their spouse, boss or kids may not)
Drop naysayers and downers, release toxic friends
Join a book club (it opens your mind to new opinions and helps you define your values – really!)
Buy good shoes, your feet will thank you
Tell your spouse you still think they are sexy (regardless of weight gain, wrinkles or bad fashion choices as they age)
Never stop learning (take night classes in university, community college or your local high school – watch YouTube if you have too)
Celebrate every birthday like it’s SPECIAL – EVERY year!
Never say “Oh, you’ve lost weight” (that implies that you believe I was too heavy the last time you saw me)
Forgive your neighbours for being a**holes JERKS sometimes
Stop and ask, “Are you asking for my opinion?” Because someone may just want you to listen, not want you to solve the problem for them
If you have an opinion start a blog … writing is very cathartic
Have a pet, they show unconditional love
Let dad parent how he wants: don’t micromanage him or they will never do it again
When your young children talk back and question your authority ask them: “Whose the parent?”
Brush your teeth the moment you get up (every.time.) + make your bed everyday
Eat vegetables (even if you hate them)
Compliment people, it’s easy and you’ll make someone’s day
Don’t smoke it’s gross and deadly
Watch YouTube while you exercise, it will go by more quickly
Don’t be afraid of aging, embrace it because it is inevitable.
Do you have any Secrets to Adulthood?