Am I happier?
If I apply my Six-Words-for-Happiness formula to myself, I see that I’ve made great strides in grappling with feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right.
Feeling good. I have more fun. I laugh more. I spend more time reading. I’m better about taking time for silliness. I indulge in modest splurges. I spend more time with friends. I have greater appreciation for everyday pleasures. Etc.
Feeling bad. I no longer feel guilty about not remembering friends’ birthdays, not doing weight-training, or not having been to the doctor in years. I’m not annoyed by overflowing closets or a messy apartment. I’m better at controlling my irritability, my resentful score-keeping, my temper. Instead of feeling incompetent, I pushed myself to learn how to keep a blog, to podcast, to load digital photos. I’ve improved my diet. Etc.
Feeling right. I spend more time helping other people and doing thoughtful things to make others happy. I’m doing a better job of being the kind of spouse and parent I want to be, with more laughing and less yelling. I’m pushing myself professionally into my discomfort zone (remember: happiness doesn’t always make me feel happy.) I’m less critical. Etc.
Now that my year of research and note-taking is over, I have to write the book; 2007 will be just as focused on the Happiness Project as 2006. I’ll continue to keep up the blog, because I’ll still be striving to apply everything I’ve learned.
Someone might look at my goals and my results and think—boy, she has it easy. Stopping scolding and reading more is not very dramatic stuff. No addiction, no 300-pound weight loss, no dread diagnosis, no screaming matches with family members, no terrible discoveries, no car crash, no divorce, no phone call in the night…
One thing I’ve really learned from this year is never to forget how grateful I should feel every day, and how it is a challenge, a duty, to act happy—and even more, to be happy.
Soon enough, one dark night, my phone is going to ring.
Today is a day for resolutions. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about: “Life’s short and we never have enough time for the hearts of those who travel the way with us. O, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind.” –Henri-Frederic Amiel