Yesterday I shared part one of my book review of Gretchen Rubin’s Happier at Home. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite quotes and some changes the book has spurred on in me.
At the back of the book, Rubin lists what she calls her “eight splendid truths”.
I love the idea of having a list of personal or family guidelines or truths. The family set is one that my husband and I are planning on establishing this year. We actually already have some that guide the behaviors, expectations and consequences in our house, but to be honest we aren’t consistent nor on the same page with them. Hopefully that will change this year.
But until I read this book, I really had not thought about writing down any sort of guidelines for my life. Obviously there are things that frame my life, namely my relationship with Jesus, but I’ve never really written them down.
Ultimately the main thing that I took from this book was pretty obvious…be me. Let our family be our family.
This came to light when I was looking through facebook status updates on New Year’s Day. Post after post I saw pictures of families celebrating with their kids at midnight and my first thought was “wow, we are so lame. We all just went to bed pretty much as normal.” But then, after arriving home from a friend’s house after ten at night and dealing with the ick that comes from that I realized…staying up waaaaaaaaaay past our regularish bedtime is not good for our family. My kids start to lose it (which in turns makes us lose it) after about ten and that is something we just have to know and realize and be ok with. It’s that old green eye of envy and comparison that makes us all think we need to conform our families or ourselves to something that we really are not.
Rubin states “in essence, happiness is being you – not trying to fit a mold or a ‘should’ happiness” and then she quotes Thomas Merton
“Finally I’m coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am.“
One of my favorite quotes was near the end of the book. It was a segment from one of the Little House books
The hardest thing for me in life is to live in the now. I’m either fussing about the past, worried about the future or ignoring the now. God graced me with a daughter who totally lives in the now and she wants you to be in it with her. She is like Laura, laying in her bed listening to all around her and taking it all in. Too often I let this part of her drive me crazy instead of letting that part of her engage me and bring me back to the center.
Rubin states, “think ~ plan forward but don’t live there. Live in the now. Thankful (not wistful) for the past, excited and ready for the future but present in the now.” That is where I want to be and where I need to be.
After all that, here are a few of my goals for this year and really my life. (many of these are “stolen” from Rubin herself)
1. be me. and be ok with that. Confidence is my new word.
2. Give warm greetings and farewells to my family and any of those I greet.
3. For 15 minutes a day tackle one project that I keep putting off (to begin with I’m editing photos from 2012 and making our yearly photobook)
4. The wicked iPhone: first I turned off all email alerts on the iPhone and iPad. Something about that little “ding” made me feel important and made everything else seem unimportant. Next I am working on my habit of picking up my phone at every stop light. Is my life really so important that something is going to happen from one stop light to the next and I’ll miss it. Hardly.
5. Underreact to a problem. If you know me…enough said.
6. Treat people the way I want them to treat me. I preach this to my children all the time, but um, to myself?
7. Be cheerful. Give gold stars. Express gratitude. Sound pleased and engaged.
8. Give up on the idea that “I will be happier ~ more content ~ joyful when such and such happens” Live and be grateful for now.