Happiness Project Update

It’s finally the lusty month of May. *Queue the music from Camelot*

While this blog post will hit tomorrow (May 2), as I write, it is the first day of May. The temperatures have rocketed from the mid-40s to the mid-70s, and joy has returned to my heart.

We are also four months into the Happiness Project.

This year, I completed my self-help crush’s first book The Happiness Project and decided to launch one myself. November 2017 began my quest from depression to thriving (a tale that will one day be told in my memoir I was Mansplained by my Therapist and Other Horror Stories from the Path of Enlightenment). As I began 2019, though, I decided to become even happier.

Has the project served its purpose? Am I happier?

If you had asked me that at the beginning of April, I would have answered in the negative. I certainly wasn’t unhappy, but I felt as if all this task tracking was a waste of time and considered scrapping the project.

January was spent getting finances under control. In February, I (tried to) practiced more self care so that I would have more energy. In March, I worked on being friendlier: no gossip, cutting people slack, etc.

All of these were worthwhile pursuits, and I know the habits I formed in the first quarter of the year will make me happier in the long-term, but I felt no “a-ha! Thank goodness I’m doing this” moment.

Until April.

If you want to start your own Happiness Project, please visit Gretchen Rubin’s website: www.happiness-project.com

My April epiphany actually started as I was making dinner for BF one cold March evening. We were joking about how I kept breaking things (just a few nights prior, he had handed me a wine glass that immediately shattered). It sparked the idea for a book, which I shared with him, and he said, “Shit. I’d read that.”

To provide some backstory, I started writing books, stories and poems when I was about 7 or 8. I would sit at the desk in my room and write stories similar to whatever I was reading: horror, Sci-Fi and mysteries were most common. I was always attracted to the cliche tough-as-nails lady copy (as an early draft of my book, The Change, indicates, I still am!). Throughout the years, I’ve gone through periods of massive productivity and times when I didn’t write much at all. In my late-20s, early-30s, I attended a prestigious creative writing program and that’s when the productivity ceased entirely.

I’m going to write a future blog about taking criticism too seriously, but for now it’s enough to say that the program struck fear into my heart, and writing went from a fun act of creation to a horrifying, stress-inducing traumatic event. Since I finished the program in 2012, I’ve dabbled at poetry, this blog and non-fiction but have not taken on any serious, long-term pursuits.

Until now, bitches.

Right after that conversation with BF, I started working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way–a book that uses a recovery model to reawaken your creativity. It’s a bit cheesy and relies heavily on the idea of a god, but neither of bothered me (granted–I’m a spiritual person). Cameron’s exercises have helped me get over my blocks. I am not only writing again, I’m also drawing, making jewelry, going to art classes, taking more photos and being more mindful of the world around me.

I think the reason “April: Write a Novel” has been so helpful is that it has ignited a focus within me. All of the other months were focused on “surviving” life; “dealing with” stress; “getting through” a day. Rediscovering my life’s purpose has given me so much more: it has brought joy to the days and a map to follow towards the future.

Maybe the book will be crap. Maybe no one will ever read it. But, I know now I have LOTS of books and pictures and art inside of me, and they will see the light of day, even if just BF and I enjoy them.