Tag Archives: future

Podcast 101: Do Something for Your Future Self, How Flying Wish Paper Eases Heartache, and “Integrator” or “Compartmentalizer?”

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

We’re having so much fun with our Instagram project. Join in, post photos of whatever makes you…happier! Use the hashtag #Happier2017 and tag us — I’m @gretchenrubin and @lizcraft.

As we discuss, The Onward Project is the family of podcasts that I’ve launched, for podcasts that are about “your life–made better.” The first shows are Side Hustle School and Radical Candor. Elizabeth’s show with her writing partner, Sarah Fain, will be Happier in Hollywood, so stay tuned for that.

Try This at Home: We got this suggestion from our listener Nikki: Do something for your future self.

Here’s the post where Nikki got the idea: “Do something kind for future you” on Wil Wheaton’s blog.

If you’re an Obliger, what accountability strategies work for you? There’s a wide range of strategies that work for different Obligers.

Happiness Hack: In episode 97, we talked about the challenge of dealing with the pain and anger of a break up.

Our listener Donna had a great approach, by creating a ritual using flying wish paper:

I was sad, angry and regretful.  I knew the break-up needed to happen, but was having a hard time processing the emotions that came after.  I purchased some flying wish paper and I wrote out all of the things I wanted to release about the situation – using one piece of paper for each thing.  I then took the paper, matches and a glass of wine outside to my patio, put on some nice music and lit the papers one at a time.  As the papers burned down, they lifted off into the air.  It felt like a tribute instead of a catharsis.  I was acknowledging that these feelings had been a part of my life, but were no longer serving me and so I was letting them go.

If you’re curious about flying wish paper, you can check it out here — it comes in all sorts of colors and patterns. (in our family, we use flying wish paper to makes wishes for the new year, and I’ve also used it as a fun activity at a birthday party.)

Know Yourself Better: Are you an “integrator” or a “compartmentalizer?” Kathleen wrote:

I’ve noticed in the workplace that folks tend to fall into one category or the other when it comes to how they deal with the crossover between work and life.  For example, some people seem perfectly happy to answer emails on the weekends, to work on projects late at night, etc., all while they integrate fun into the day (social lunches, coffee breaks, extended online shopping or social media sessions).  I think of these folks as integrators — folks who, seemingly quite willingly, blend work and life together.  They don’t seem to mind switching between the two.

 

Some of us, on the other hand, are compartmentalizers.  I fall squarely into this camp. Work is work, life is life, and I strive to keep the two separate in terms of time allocation.  I can’t enjoy a coffee break or a relaxed dinner when I know there’s a big project waiting for me to return (as intellectually engaging as that project may be), so I’d rather plow through the work first, then get to the fun as a reward.  I cut the fat from the workday, with the aim of making weekends and evenings — as much as humanly possible — work-free.  (I’m a lawyer at a big firm, so it’s often not possible, but it’s a goal worth chasing!)  I also seem to be one of the few professionals I know who won’t put her work email on her personal iPhone, instead preferring to keep the old firm-issued Blackberry as a second, separate device.

 

On the whole, the compartmentalizer approach makes me happier, because it means personal time is truly distinct and enjoyable, and the jarring transitions between life and work are minimized.  But I get that others work better when the boundaries between work and life are more fluid.

Listener Question: Whitney asks, “I have a  hang-up with the idea of a one-sentence journal. I feel like it would be stressful to try to distill my day into one sentence! Any tips for how to do that?”

Demerit: Years ago, I started a terrific system for keeping my daughters’ mementos in  a highly organized file box (I used this one), but I didn’t maintain it. Now I need to go back and get everything organized.

Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the enthusiastic, friendly, energetic crossing-guard in her neighborhood.

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Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page to continue the conversation from the podcast — usually on Tuesdays at 3:00 pm ET. To join the conversation, check the schedule.

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1pixHappier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #101

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HAPPIER listening!

“The Present Is Enriched by the Past and the Future.”

“We are made happy in the present moment not only by our actual delights but also by our hopes, our reminiscences. The present is enriched by the past and the future.”
–Émilie du Châtelet, “Discourse on Happiness,” Selected Philosophical and Scientific Writings

* I loved the images on this post about Beloved Street Art on Laurie Smithwick’s Upside Up, and I realized that these were a selection from Street Art Utopia’s 106 of the most beloved Street Art Photos of 2011. Check them out. They’re mesmerizing.

* Want a happiness quotation in your email inbox every morning? Sign up for the Moment of Happiness. Subscribe here or email me at gretchenrubin1@gretchenrubin.com.

Happiness in the Present, Happiness in the Future — A Difficult Balance.

In happiness, many tensions can’t be permanently solved, and instead require constant thought and effort.

For instance, I often debate, within myself, how to strive for my own built-in happiness, and yet stay mindful of the effect that other people’s happiness (or unhappiness) has on me. Also, I want to accept myself, yet also expect more of myself.

Another example is the question of how to think about now and the future. Clearly it’s important to be present in the moment and to think about now, and clearly it’s important to take present action with the future in mind.

I was reminded of the importance of the atmosphere of growth — which has an element of future-thinking — when I read this letter by John Ruskin. As a young man, Ruskin feared he would die of tuberculosis. He wrote to a friend in 1841:

I have begun a work of some labour which would take me several years to complete; but I cannot read for it, and do not know how many years I may have for it. I don’t know if I shall even be able to get my degree; and so I remain in a jog-trot, sufficient-for-the-day style of occupation – lounging, planless, undecided, and uncomfortable, except when I can get out to sketch – my chief enjoyment. I am beginning to consider the present as the only available time, and in that humour it is impossible to work at anything dry or laborious or useful. I spend my days in a search after present amusement, because I have not spirit enough to labour in the attainment of what I may to have future strength to attain; and yet am restless under the sensation of days perpetually lost and employment perpetually in vain.”

(The image is Ruskin’s drawing of the Grand Canal in Venice.)

How do you think about balancing the challenges of present and the future?

* Last week, I had the fun of meeting the famous Swiss Miss in person — love her design blog. If you haven’t seen it before, check it out.

* Want to launch a group for people doing happiness projects together? Email me at grubin @ gretchenrubin dot com. Just write “starter kit” in the subject line.