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My Happiness Project Part I
March 8, 2018

I’m reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin with my book club–my selection. Problem is, I haven’t loved it. I’ve been hooked on the self-help genre since I pulled Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking from my dad’s book shelf in high school. This one . . . I only liked. Ruben is too intellectual for me. Too research/proof oriented. I do not need to be statistically convinced about happiness, or exposed to the bazillion studies regarding the pathways to increased happiness. I’m already singing in the happiness choir.

I’m coming to realize happiness may be my spiritual gift. My super power. I forget that everyone doesn’t think like me. I forget I’m twenty years older than almost everyone. And I forget how much of the last fifteen years I’ve spent getting to know myself and teaching myself how to make me happy. And I forget I’m kinda good at it.

I was talking to Denver Daughter my EIC (editor in chief) regarding a project she’s editing for me. She nailed me on not allowing my characters to be unhappy for more than, say, three pages. “You can’t do that, Debi. People spend extended periods of their lives unhappy. They work and work to pull themselves out of funks. And you follow every trial with, ‘but her kids were doing great,’ or some such nonsense. It’s not fair to the reader and it comes across as inauthentic. You have to let your characters sit with their struggles. Don’t fix them so quickly.”

Yikes. I hope she really was just talking about the way I treat my characters.

A lesser woman may have stopped to clarify. But it threw me into a laughing jag. I was in the midst of the November chapter of The Happiness Project and I was irritated at Gretchen Ruben, thought to myself, Honey, if you haven’t figured out by now how to be happier, it’s hopeless. Give it up. Yeah, I was irritated that in almost a year, this woman didn’t have this happiness thing perfected.

And then I realized why it was so irritating to me. I can’t stand extended periods of unhappiness. I fix. As quickly as possible. For some reason, this hit me as terribly funny and I could not stop laughing. I’m still laughing. Denver Daughter didn’t even get mad at me. She just said something about how she was glad I was cracking myself up.

Am I one-hundred percent happy one-hundred percent of the time? Heck no! That’s only possible in the world of fiction! (unless your EIC nixes it). I intend to create a happiness project for myself and maybe number one on my list should be granting more compassion to those who have a default setting slightly lower on the happiness scale than I do. Let me get through the December chapter with Gretchen and I’ll let you know.

Stay tuned for My Happiness Project, Part II.

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Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

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