One of my 13 for 13 goals is to read 12 books in 2013. So far, I have read two. I started with The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I read this book because my "One Little Word" (concept developed by Ali Edwards), is Joy, and I thought a book about developing a happiness project would be an excellent start.
The book read like a memoir, and not necessarily like a how-to or self-help book. Gretchen is brutally honest with her experience through her year-long happiness project. She speaks often of her happiness manifesto, and truths of adulthood, and provides personal examples of why these things are true for her. However, she does point out repeatedly in the book that everyone's happiness project would look different because happiness is incredibly personal. I found myself torn on the book. In a lot of ways, I didn't connect with Gretchen's project because her happiness resolutions are quite different in many ways than mine.
At points, this book had me quite perplexed. Gretchen purchases random magazines so she can expose herself to new thinking and new ideas, and finds joy in connecting with something in each of them. I pondered this for myself for a moment, and realized that I experience a similar practice regularly, at the doctor’s or dentist’s office. Typically, the magazines are ones that I would never read, but I read them in that instance to kill time. Occasionally, I find an interesting article, like the one I recently read about John Fitch in an automotive magazine. However, I am quite assured that this would not be any more enjoyable at home, and especially not paying newsstand price for an issue. When Gretchen started a collection of bluebirds, because she felt she should have a collection of something, I again questioned the reasoning. Not that I don’t collect, I have a gagillion pens that says I do, but making an intentional decision to seemingly randomly select something to collect is beyond me.
Although I didn’t really relate to Gretchen for much of the book, I did find this an incredibly readable narrative of her process and project. Some good advice from the novel that I plan to consider is to form groups around interests you have (Any Artists want to peer collaborate? Email me!), to keep track of your resolutions, and to always be yourself.
Ultimately, I think I will be taking ideas from this book, and the other I have finished "Steal Like an Artist" to put together my own project- an Atomic Project. I plan on sharing my details soon, and trust me there is going to be a lot of creative goodness that goes with it.