In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, she comes up with her own “rules of adulthood”. Truths she’s found living her life that are helpful to remember in times that might not be the most happiness-friendly. I came up with a few of my own.
1. Forgive (especially yourself), and let it be
2. Anything worth doing is a pain in the ass at some point – enjoy the process
3. Moving ahead doesn’t necessarily get you ahead – stay in the moment
4. I had another one I can’t remember right now, hence why I need to write them down. It will come to me at some point.
The first rule is simple and self-explanatory. I added the part about forgiving yourself because this is usually the hardest, at least for me. You said something stupid, did something embarrassing, made a mistake. FORGIVE YOURSELF. Tell yourself it’s okay, you will learn from this. Then LET IT BE. Move on, and stop obsessing over it. I have to apply this rule at least once a day. The reason I like having it as a rule is, the sooner you remember it, and apply it, the better you feel. By having this mantra to turn to as soon as you something happens, you can have yourself back on the road to happiness in no time. Of course, this is important with others too. We’ve all heard the saying about anger and resentment being like taking poison yourself and expecting the other person to die. It doesn’t get you anywhere, the sooner you forgive, and truly let it be, the faster you will be happy once again.
My second rule came to me when we returned from our vacation only to find our garden completely overriden with weeds. I’ve never before seen what two weeks of negligence can do for weeds. It took my husband and I about three hours to get everything under control. Not to mention, it was approximately 95 degrees and humid. I was shocked when my husband took a phone call from his friend. I overheard his conversation, it went something like this, “ya, we just got back. had a great time. weeding the garden right now, it is filled with weeds. Oh, well, (shruggs) its good, healthy work…” WHAT?? I was ready to dig up every plant in the garden weed or not, and call this year a failure. I was sweating, dehydrated, my knees were cramping up, and yet he was so, happy. What am I missing here, I wondered. The epiphany didn’t come until a few days later. I got up early and went out to water our garden. It looked so amazing now that the weeds were cleared. I noticed a few blossoms on our cucumber plants, and it seemed like our squash plants had doubled in size overnight. I stood there, in the morning glow, ready to burst into tears. I was so happy. I just kept thinking about when we bought the house two years ago, we wanted to start a garden, and now we finally were. Sure, our plants were smaller than my moms or my father-in-laws (have you ever hear the saying, comparison is the killer of all joy?, well its true – so try not to do it, another good rule), but they were ours. We did the work, and it felt so good. We were making our dreams come true. Even though weeding was such a pain in the ass, it was worth it. If I had just thought about the end result while I was weeding and enjoyed the process, I would have been so much happier. I realized my husband already knew this rule, but I guess I had to learn it for myself.
Moving ahead doesn’t always get you ahead – we’ve all been there. You are late for work swerve around the car in front of you to pass them like a maniac, only to end up at a red light two seconds later with them right behind you giving you the finger. You didn’t really get ahead. You are in the exact the same place you would have been if you didn’t cut them off. SLOW DOWN. Reminding yourself of this rule can help you stay in the moment. Its fun to notice when other people are not applying this rule as well. When someone is sprinting through the airport and almost kills you with their suitcase, then ends up getting stopped at security and you breeze right by them, take notice. Noticing how foolish this is when others do it can help prevent you from making the same mistake.
Just as an update, I have managed to stick to my workout schedule! I’ve been able to wake up earlier and squeeze in my workouts. I feel so accomplished! Everything they say about exercise is completely true. It makes you feel good, gives you more energy and relieves stress (which I need for sure, but we’ll get to that another day). I have two more work days left, so I need to go to bed!