The Secret of Adulthood–Rules from The Happiness Project

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Secret of Adulthood_ The Happiness Project for @DownshiftingPRO

Continuing on my journey in pursuit of happiness – after reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. I realize this is a lofty goal, but one everyone should make; I’ve been reflecting on what truly makes me happy and what things I need to set aside to keep me calm and content. 

One thing I know for sure is that sitting still in one place for too long doesn’t do it for me.  Traveling and making my way to a museum and seeing a stunning work of art does. 

As a freelance travel writer, I have been lucky to travel abroad and I think this may 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 return trip to Spain.

The excitement of getting on a plane and figuring out how to drive on the opposite side of the road is an unknown secret that I seek to conquer.  I often ask myself: Who 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

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.  Rubin sets out to redefine her life, whether it is getting more sleep, making quality more important than quantity, or just realizing the cathartic shift after decluttering her space (hurray to organizing and downshifting your 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.

In the first installment, I discussed the impact of friendships, which seemed to resonate with many people. I found this lovely gesture from a friend who had decided to invest in our friendship! She surprised me with flowers, coffee, and a croissant.

The Happiness Project Friendship Secrets of Adulthood DownshiftingPRO

Through the years, I have learned lessons from both my children (on having an autistic sibliling) and my parents (on how not to worry and be happy).  Insights into life’s mysteries is a lifelong pursuit, don’t you think?

Many of us start questioning our purpose, marriages, and 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, and found the financial security of paying off the mortgage (still a pipe dream in these parts Winking smile).  Could we possibly be ready for retirement?  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. 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

  • Make your bed every day. Check out this Goalcast video on why you need to make the bed.
  • God places people in your path for a reason … figure out why and embrace them.
  • If you want your kids to be screen-free or reduce their time on social media, be the example not turn your phone off, silence your notifications, focus on them when they are talking to you!
  • Stop multitasking! Live with intention. Focus on one thing at a time; you will get things done faster.
  • Support your friends (because their spouse, boss or kids may not)
  • Never leave the house without lipstick (that advice is from my mother).
  • Drop naysayers and downers, and release toxic friends.
  • Join a book club (it will open your mind to new opinions and help 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 to).
  • Celebrate every birthday like it’s SPECIAL – EVERY year, not just when you are a child!
  • 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 JERKS sometimes.
  • Stop and ask, “Are you asking for my opinion?”  Because someone may 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.
  • Get a pet; they show unconditional love, and nobody can have too much of that!
  • Let Dad parent how he wants: don’t micromanage him, or he will never do it again.
  • When your young children talk back and question your authority ask them: “Who’s the parent?” This is a gentle reminder to you and them that you are the parent and make the rules.
  • 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.
  • Listen to audiobooks or podcasts while you exercise. You will walk further.
  • Don’t be afraid of aging; embrace it because it is inevitable.

Do you have any Secrets to Adulthood?

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Margarita Ibbott is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She blogs about travel in Canada, the United States and Europe giving practical advice through restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. She writes for DownshiftingPRO.com and other online media outlets.