Tag Archives: art

Have You Ever Been Made Happier by a “Modest Splurge?” Of What? For Me, Magic Markers.

I’m an under-buyer, and for the most part, I dislike shopping, errands, and buying stuff.

In fact, one of my happiness-project resolutions is to “Indulge in a modest splurge.” I remind myself that sometimes, it makes me happy to indulge in a modest splurge — to buy something that I don’t absolutely need, but that makes my day brighter in some way.

I indulged in a modest splurge a few days ago.

I was early for a meeting (I’m always early), so I decided to spend the time wandering around an art store. I love just looking at the things in art stores. This store, sadly, was going out of business, so prices were slashed.

As a result, the shelves were fairly bare, but I happened to notice a giant box of beautiful, high-quality, double-ended magic markers.

These particular markers hold special memories for me, because when I was in college, my roommate had twelve of these markers, and she prized them highly. She never let anyone borrow them, and we could use them only under her supervision. (Very wisely–she knew that we’d lose them, or leave the caps loose.) We had so much fun with those markers.

I looked at the price. For a box of markers, it was still expensive. At the same time, it was an extraordinary bargain. But I didn’t really need the markers–we have lots of good markers already. But this was a really good set of markers. It would make me very happy to use them, and my daughters would also use them. But couldn’t we use the markers we already had? Well-made tools make work a joy; having these terrific markers might boost my creativity. Looking at the markers brought back happy memories. But if we didn’t make good use of the markers, I would feel guilty.  Etc., etc., etc.

I bet the other customers thought I was a very odd person — I stood stock still, gazing at the box, as these questions played out in my head, for several minutes.

At last, I remembered my resolution to “Indulge in a modest splurge.” And I thought, well, I’m going to get them! I love them.

I got them home, my daughters were delighted with the markers, we all tried them out — and my older daughter asked, “Can I take some to school tomorrow?”

First, I said “No way.” I was thinking–I want to keep the set nice, I don’t want to risk losing or spoiling one, I want to “save” them to keep them nice, etc.

Then I remembered #7 of my Twelve Personal Commandments. Spend out. I tend to hold things back, so I have to remind myself to spend out. Use things up! Put them into circulation, put them to work! Better to use the markers all the time, and risk losing them, than to save them on the shelf, and never use them at all. (Plus my daughter is fairly responsible.)

Have you ever made a “modest splurge,” where a purchase made you happier? What did you splurge on?

Book Club Choices Revealed! Three Terrific Books to Read in May.

Because nothing boosts happiness more than a great book, each month, I suggest:

  • one outstanding book about happiness or habits
  • one outstanding work of children’s or young-adult literature–I have a crazy passion for kidlit
  • one eccentric pick–a widely admired and excellent book that I love, yes, but one that may not appeal to everyone

 

Shop at IndieBound, BN.com, or Amazon (I’m an affiliate), or your favorite local bookstore.

Or my favorite, visit the library! In fact, for my second episode of “A Little Happier” — the new 2-minute mini-episodes of my podcast I’m doing each week — I talked about how much I love going to the library. Listen here.

For all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read most of them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.  Drumroll…

A book about happiness, good habits, or human nature:

First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You by Ann Demarais and Valerie White

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An outstanding children’s book:

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An eccentric pick:

Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris by Leanne Shapton

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

Some readers have said that they wished that I’d describe and make the case for my book choices, instead of just providing links. I’ve noticed that many times, when someone describes a book to me, I want to read it less. And often, weirdly, the better a book is, the worse it sounds.

Nevertheless, because so many readers have requested it, I’ve decided to give a bit more context for these choices in the book-club newsletter. So if you’d like to know more about why I made these selections, check there. To get that free monthly book-club newsletter, and to make sure you don’ t miss any recommendations, sign up here.

If you read last month’s recommendations…what did you think?

In Honor of Shakespeare’s Birthday: My Favorite Shakespeare Passage.

It’s Shakespeare’s birthday! (At least, according to tradition.)

So, in honor of the day, here’s my favorite Shakespeare passage, from Antony and Cleopatra, when Cleopatra is mourning the dead Antony:

For his bounty,
There was no winter in’t; an autumn ’twas
That grew the more by reaping: his delights
Were dolphin-like; they show’d his back above
The element they lived in: in his livery
Walk’d crowns and crownets; realms and islands were
As plates dropp’d from his pocket. (V.2.79)

 

In this three-minute podcast, A Little Happier, I talk about why I love this passage: Enthusiasm is the best teacher. Listen here.

What’s your favorite line or passage from Shakespeare? There are so many.

7 Great Movies about the Nature of Happiness and Love.

I love making lists, and here’s a list of seven of my favorite movies about happiness. They don’t necessarily make me feel light-hearted, but they’ve all inspired me to think deeply about the nature of happiness and love.

As I look at my choices, I see to my surprise that as a group, they’re a bit strange. And also quite R-rated.

Happiness and…the porn industry? Happiness and…strangers beating each other up? And yet I think that each of these movies is very transcendent, in its own way.

  1. Junebug — a haunting movie about the deep mysteries of family; what we know about each other; how we show love and respect for each other
  2. Saturday Night Fever –– the disco music is better than I remembered, and the movie is also about sharing a passion with another person, and the bonds that can create
  3. All That Jazz — I talk about my crazy love for this movie in episode 57 of the podcast
  4. Boogie Nights — true, this movie takes place in the porn industry, but it’s also a movie that makes me think about friendship, work, and how we find out path in the world
  5. Terms of Endearment — funny, sad, thought-provoking. I’ll never forget the scene where the mother demands pain medication for her daughter.
  6. Fight Club — the novel is also brilliant. Strange, yes. Deeply strange, yes. But brilliant.
  7. Husbands and Wives — I’ve seen this movie five times, and I see new things every time. A fascinating picture of a place (New York City), a time of life, several kinds of romantic relationships.

What movies would you remove – and more interesting, what movies would you add? I’d love to get a long list of movies about happiness.

Podcast 51: What to Do If You Can’t Remember a Name, Why We Should Plan to Fail, and Adult Coloring Books.

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

Update: Elizabeth is in her new office in the old Animation Building on the Disney lot. As promised, here’s a photo of the Seven Dwarfs building. If you want to see the trailer for Elizabeth’s new show, The Family, watch here.sevendwarvesbuilding1pix

We got a huge response to episode 48, when we talked about the “Sunday Blues” or “Sunday Dreads.” Listeners suggested many thoughtful solutions for dealing with them.

Try This at Home: Disguise the fact that you can’t remember something important about someone—such as that person’s name. Lots of strategies—and we’re asking for more!

Better Than Before Habits Strategy: The Strategy of Safeguards. It helps us to plan to fail.

Listener Question: Terry from Walnut Creek: “How do I keep up with phone calls and voice mails from family members?” Terry mentions that she’s an “Obliger” in the Four Tendencies framework. If you want to learn more about the Four Tendencies, and take the Quiz to find out your Tendency, go here.

Elizabeth’s Demerit: Despite the fact that Elizabeth lost all her photos when her phone died many months ago, she still doesn’t back up her phone. Bonus demerit: I don’t back up my phone either! Yikes.

Gretchen’s Gold Star: Adult coloring books! I’m going to buy one for myself. Are you a fan?

Bonus: Check out Quiet, the new podcast by Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, about being the parent of introverted children.

 

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