I finished reading The Happiness Project last night. The book isn’t what I expected. I had only heard it mentioned in sort of the twee “life list” type circles so I expected it to be a super motivational twee book. It is not. Rubin writes from a very analytical place with a lot of research to back up what she’s saying. The style is slightly off putting but once I got used to it I found it kind of refreshing.
One of my biggest takeaways that I’ve been trying to practice is being less reactive and less judgemental. For some reason, when I’m at the doctor’s office I don’t like Seth to talk to me. I just feel like the doctor’s office is the perfect place for people to sit and listen to your conversations and judge you. I feel this way because that’s what I do. And I don’t particularly like that about myself. Today when we walked into my OBs office there was this ancient woman sitting in a Rally scooter with her ancient husband sitting next to her holding up a phone that was BLASTING on speaker a conversation that seemed to be about finances. It was so insanely ridiculous. And such an opportunity for me to just laugh. Normally, I would get annoyed that this old lady had the gall to act like she was the only person in the world and that our precious silence was being treaded upon. But honestly, LIGHTEN THE FUCK UP, Tamara. So I looked at Seth and laughed. And he laughed and the woman sitting across from us harumphed and looked annoyed but honestly it opened up the door for Seth and I to have a normal conversation. We had to sit in the waiting room for about 15 minutes before we were called back and then about an hour during the glucose tolerance test, so I had a lot of time that normally would have been spent with my fur up trying to get Seth to talk more quietly or to not talk at all. But only once did I put my hand on Seth’s wrist in a quiet effort to get him to stop talking about something that made me uncomfortable and he did. It was so damned pleasant.
Rubin talks about her own twelve commandments and her own secrets of adulthood. Her number one commandment is “Be Gretchen” and one of her secrets of adulthood is “It’s important to be nice to everyone.” I’ve often thought that being me was being sort of a sarcastic, caustic, to put it bluntly, bitch, but in reality that’s just the easy way to be me. I like doing nice things for people. I like being kind and generous, I just usually shove down the Pollyanna and let the Anna Wintour rule. I think my number one commandment, if I were to do such a thing, would be “Be the better Tamara.” Of course, I’ll never not be able to cut through bullshit with a sarcastic comment to lighten the mood, but there’s no reason to use it on every occasion. Sometimes it’s nice to be pleasant and not argue the point just because you’ve got a captive audience.
Sitting in traffic, waiting in lines, listening to old ladies very loud speaker phone conversations, are all things that, if I let them, drive me to instant anger. But sitting in traffic, waiting in line, and listening to old ladies speaker phone conversations are also opportunities. They’re a great place for a writer to be. How many times have you looked out at the construction workers holding up your progress to whatever incredibly important (it’s never that important) thing you’re going to and seen a glimpse into a little world you never really get to inhabit. Those kinds of things feed a writer’s arsenal and if you’re only ever looking for content in the tiny part of the world that doesn’t annoy you, you’re only going to be writing about the writer’s room, and even there, Jesus, we can be an annoying bunch. No one likes waiting in lines, but guess what, no one likes the bitchy girl sighing and saying FUCK in the line either. We’re all in this together, people. Let’s cut that pharmacy tech a little slack, even if she’s on the phone taking a personal call. Maybe ESPECIALLY if she’s on the phone taking a personal call.
The time spent reading this book has found me progressively happier and I’ve only just started trying to figure out what the things are that make me happy. I’m looking forward to doing some more personal research and getting to the core of my own happiness.