Podcast 105: Leave on High Note, Childlike Wonder vs. Adultlike Wonder–and What I Eat Every Day.

It’s time for the next installment of  Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Update: In response to our discussion in episode 102, listeners told us the different “missing puzzle pieces” they’d managed to find.

Try This at Home: Leave on a high note.

Happiness Hack: The Metropolitan Museum has introduced an extraordinary new resource: for artworks that are in the public domain, the Met makes them freely available for unrestricted use (including commercial use). Learn more and browse here!

Happiness Stumbling Block: What appeals to you more: childlike wonder, or adultlike wonder?

Listener Questioner: Fiona asks, “Gretchen, what do you eat every day?’

I talk about the fact that I’m an “Abstainer” — are you an Abstainer or a Moderator?

As I write about in Better Than Before, I was inspired to quit sugar after reading Gary Taubes’s Why We Get Fat. If you’d like to read my interview with Gary Taubes about his new book, The Case Against Sugar, request it here.

Demerit: I hate the theme of unjust accusation in books, movies, plays, and TV shows — but I unjustly accused my family of ignoring the groceries.

Gold Star: Elizabeth went to two doctors’ appointments in one day.

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Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #105

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  • Gillian

    Your segment about leaving on a high note resonated with me but not in the case of individual events. I timed my retirement so that I could leave on a high note. For the last 2 or 3 years at work, I was heavily involved in a large project. There was no way I wanted to retire before the project was complete. I could have continued working for another couple of years after that but the prospect of returning to more mundane, less project-oriented work was not at all appealing. As it was financially feasible, I decided to “leave on a high note” as the project came to an end. I am so glad I did so – now when I look back on my career, I can think of the last couple of years as a time of interesting, focused and successful work, not as a period that just gradually dribbled to an end. I have an acquaintance whose last year or so of work was not pleasant and she left when the project she was involved in was incomplete. She still has a bad taste in her mouth from that time.

  • Courtney Hunt

    When I downloaded the podcast this morning and saw the headline, I thought for sure you were going to tell us you’d decided to end it after two years. I’d be devastated. Happier is my favorite podcast! It always makes my Wednesdays better.

    • gretchenrubin

      That’s so nice to hear! Thanks!

      Gretchen Rubin

      Visit my blog

      My podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin
      My books:Better Than Before —New York Times bestseller
      The Happiness Project —#1 New York Times bestseller
      Join the discussion on Facebook @gretchenrubin

  • Mimi Gregor

    Just the expression “going out on a high note” makes me smile, as it reminds me of one of my favorite Seinfeld moments, when George decides to always leave office meetings on a high note:

  • Stella Jervis

    I don’t think it’s healthy to cut out fruit. Potatoes and pasta not so much, but fruit is good for you. I’ve tried to eat just meat and veggies and yogurt like Gretchen, but felt really yucky. Then I brought fruit back into my life and cut out dairy, and I felt a lot better. I love especially berries on my salad to replace salad dressing. So good!

  • Jason A

    Lovely podcast as always 🙂
    Just something for childlike wonder. I recently heard a quote – I’m paraphrasing – ‘If we could see the miracle of the world every day, we’d constantly be in awe.’ Quite often I’m able to step back and realise we’re on a spinning ball in space, but we have blue skies, trees and mountains. Sometimes I get caught up in the adult world and all it’s problems, and then I get home and switch on an electric light, the kettle for a hot cup of tea, and the central heating, and it hits me again – it’s just a magic I’ve never taken for granted. I’m in childlike awe of the ‘every day’ stuff quite often, and it puts adult stuff in context every time
    J from London

  • Alisa Johnson

    As I was listening to your recap on listener comments to missing puzzle pieces I was reminded of how awesome and helpful to us all it was when my sister replaced our front door lock & deadbolt and our parents front door lock & deadbolt with locks that used the same key for both houses. It has been so incredibly handy for all of us to have just one key in numerous ways…From stopping by to feed the cat or let the dog out, to dropping off the grandkids and more.

  • Imogen_Jericho

    I had a friend in college who recommended leaving parties “at the top of the fun curve.” Always stuck with me …

  • Peggy Herman

    A missing puzzle piece for me has to do with catching up with friends and family on the phone. Over the years I have fallen into primarily texting and emailing. But, good long chats can be very satisfying. Lately, I have been texting friends and making “phone dates”…we agree on a good time to chat. When that time is near, I usually lace up my shoes and take my dog for a walk. I end up getting a triple benefit – talking to a friend, fresh air and good exercise for me AND my dog.

  • Carla

    A slightly different way of looking at childlike wonder vs. adultlike wonder: do you get pleasure from mystery or knowledge? For some, knowing the amazing details of how something works enhances their enjoyment. For others, the mystery is what makes something so magical, and detailed knowledge ruins the magic and makes it feel mundane. This feels like a more actionable way to consider it. Let’s use Gretchen’s interest in color as an example. If you get pleasure from knowledge, you may want to read a lot of books or take a class on color. If you get pleasure from mystery, maybe you want to take pictures of items in unusual colors. In both cases, you are pursuing an interest, but in a way that heightens rather diminishes it.

    • gretchenrubin

      Such a thought-provoking observation. Absolutely. I’ve been thinking about this a lot for a future project I’m considering…which would involve exactly that kind of shift.

      Gretchen Rubin

      Visit my blog

      My podcast, Happier with Gretchen Rubin
      My books:Better Than Before —New York Times bestseller
      The Happiness Project —#1 New York Times bestseller
      Join the discussion on Facebook @gretchenrubin

  • Tomisha Bino

    I just listened to this episode and could really relate to the frustration you felt (if i can call it that) about your dinner guest who approaches life with a ‘child-like wonder’.

    Listening to you tell the story, I could feel myself battling with the same urge to argue. However, what bothered me about it was not the child-like vs. adult-like wonder aspect of it, but the fact that I believed that this man was simply not expressing himself precisely. I.e. in my mind, he doesn’t really mean what he is saying, but is just not reflecting enough about what the words he uses actually mean and whether or not they are being used appropriately to communicate his thoughts.

    I’ve recently discovered this happiness stumbling block about myself, which is the frustration I feel about people not expressing themsleves precisely. Some of my friends have told me it’s because I’m not patient enough, but I disagree. I don’t mind people taking their time to express a thought, as long as they do so with precise use of language.