Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau


Other than the holidays, I’ve done very little posting.  Most days are taken up with the work necessary to get back on the road and as much reading as I can squeeze in.  So today I decided to write about some of that reading and the thinking it has initiated. 

I’ve been thinking about the idea of a New Year and why it bothers me that it is so arbitrary a date.  I haven’t “celebrated” New Year’s Eve in years and always think with gratitude about the whole circle and cycle starting over on the date the days get longer.  That’s when I always want to “begin again”, “do things better” or  make too many “resolutions” that I can’t keep up with.

So this year I determined that I would learn something from the past and only make two resolutions.  And those were to get the things done that must be in order to get back on the road and to be happy.  But in the way that so many things seem to serendipitously happen in my life, a book on resolutions showed up about 10 days before January 1st.

Now it wasn’t totally serendipitous I guess since I am a voracious reader and a heavy library user when I’m in this town.  When I left for the long 90th birthday trip I had to cancel all the books I had “on hold” since I wouldn’t be here to get them.   But I wrote the titles down in a file on my desktop thinking I might find them in a used bookshop or in a park swap basket.  And when I came got back to deal with the furnace, I used the list to put them all back on hold.   They came in one at a time and I read them.  I always have one fiction and one non fiction (usually environmental literature) going at the same time but I seldom read “self help” 

And I suppose that’s what the one I’m writing about, The Happiness Project, would be classified as. 

 It’s what some critics have come to call “stunt non fiction” where someone does something for a year and writes a book about it.  A Year of Reading Proust and Eat, Pray Love are recent popular titles in this “genre”.  In this case,  the author, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor,  was motivated by, among other things, Aristotle’s quotation “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”. She says “Aristotle declared happiness to be the summum bonum, the chief good; people desire other things, such as power or wealth or losing ten pounds, because they believe they will lead to happiness, but their real goal is happiness.”   I guess that’s what has propelled me, and perhaps most of those who do, to want to fulltime; the belief that it leads to increased happiness.  But the book made me wonder, are there other changes, less drastic, that would also increase happiness??

Like her I’m not UNhappy.  And I don’t know that I particularly thought what I wanted was to be “happier” but her book certainly has me thinking, particularly about those hard to keep resolutions.  Over the year, she worked out methods to make and keep resolutions in her desire to see if she could be happier and change her life without changing her life but with the goal of improving her quality of life and the quality of life of those around her.  I do agree that everyone is happier around a happy person.

Her system definitely worked for her and apparently for many others who, according to their posts on her web site, have tried it in the more than year since the book came out.   I haven’t  figured out exactly which of her ideas I’m going to use but I found the book very interesting especially the idea of improving one’s life without changing it.

Moving your life out of a Stix and Brix home and onto 6 or 8 wheels is certainly big change but this book is more about inner change and its reflection in how one “is”.  I like the idea of both the inner and outer changes complimenting each other.  A very thought provoking read, at least for me.  Stay tuned.  Not sure what will happen next or if this will become one of those fallen by the wayside resolutions. J


  1. Good Post...but now we have to work on my happiness and at the same time it will improve your happiness... Get the furnace fixed and start traveling so I can tag along ;o)

    Happy is as Happy does!!


  2. I don't do much reading but I think I've got the gist of it. I like the phrase "find beauty in the ordinary." To me, it basically means "find a way to be happy with where you are in life." A person makes a choice to be happy or not. Just my opinion.


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