Tag Archives: maturity

“The Things That Go Wrong Often Make the Best Memories” — and Further Secrets of Adulthood.

Every Wednesday is Tip Day.
This Wednesday: More Secrets of Adulthood.

What have I learned, with time and experience? Not much, I fear. Here are my latest Secrets of Adulthood. Although these items may not seem particularly profound, each one was a revelation when I finally figured it out:

The things that go wrong often make the best memories.
Approval from the people you admire is sweet, but it’s not enough to be the foundation of a happy life.
If you don’t really want something, getting it won’t make you happy.
It’s enormously helpful, and surprisingly difficult, to grasp the obvious.
The quickest way to progress from A to B is NOT to work the hardest.
Go outside.
It’s easier to prevent pain than to squelch it. (This is true literally and figuratively.)
Where you start makes a big difference in where you end up.
Remember to choose your boss carefully.
There’s no place like home.
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. (Actually, Voltaire came up with that one, not me.)

Here are my previously identified Secrets of Adulthood:

The best reading is re-reading.
Outer order contributes to inner calm.
The opposite of a great truth is also true.
You manage what you measure.
It’s nice to have plenty of money.
By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
People don’t notice your mistakes and flaws as much as you think.
Most decisions don’t require extensive research.
Try not to let yourself get too hungry.
Even if you think they’re fake, it’s nice to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
If you can’t find something, clean up.
The days are long, but the years are short.
Turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes a glitch.
It’s okay to ask for help.
You can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you LIKE to do.
Happiness doesn’t always make you feel happy.
What you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE.
You don’t have to be good at everything.
Soap and water removes most stains.
It’s important to be nice to EVERYONE.
You know as much as most people.
Over-the-counter medicines are very effective.
Eat better, eat less, exercise more.
What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa.
People actually prefer that you buy wedding gifts off their registry.
Houseplants and photo albums are a lot of trouble.
If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.
No deposit, no return.

I’ve modified one Secret of Adulthood to replace “Someplace, keep an empty shelf” with “Someplace, keep an empty shelf; someplace, keep a junk drawer.”

One of my favorite things to do on the Happiness Project Toolbox (okay, my favorite thing) is to see what other people are saying. A few of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood from other people include:

Some things are worth waiting for, some things are not.
It’s okay to like watching cartoons (even if you are 36).
A job where someone pays you to do nothing is not awesome, it’s boring.
Maturity doesn’t mean acting serious all the time.
If you buy an item that has a part that will frequently need to be replaced, go ahead and buy a replacement at the same time.
When someone is mourning a loss, don’t worry about saying the right thing. Just say something.
You need old friends and new friends.
Seek mentors for more than your career.
It is what it is.

I’m tempted to keep going. but will force myself to stop here. How about you? Have you identified a helpful Secret of Adulthood?

* I love getting the chance to see other bloggers face to face, so am very happy to be meeting Emily from TheMotherHood this afternoon.

* It’s Word-of-Mouth Day, when I gently encourage (or, you might think, pester) you to spread the word about the Happiness Project. You might:
— Forward the link to someone you think would be interested
— Link to a post on Twitter (follow me @gretchenrubin)
— Sign up for my free monthly newsletter (about 46,000 people get it)
Buy the book
— Put a link to the blog in your Facebook status update
— Watch the one-minute book video
Thanks! I really appreciate any help. Word of mouth is the BEST.

Have You Ever Experienced Split-Second-Aging?

Yesterday, I got my feeling of split-second-aging.

While I was riding on the subway, for no particular reason, I felt some odometer click over, and I became older. I felt it happen. I crossed some invisible border, and now some things seem closer and clearer and more important, and other things, further away.

I’ve had this feeling of unexpected split-second-aging before, and I’ve also failed to feel it, when I expected to feel it. The night I got married, for example, I remember saying to my husband of a few hours, “I thought I’d feel different, but I feel the same. Do you feel different?” He didn’t feel any different, either.

Having a baby, too. I felt a huge range of new emotions and concerns, but I didn’t feel any older or more mature. Same old me.

But I remember feeling split-second-aging when my husband had knee surgery. I was sitting in the waiting room with my mother-in-law and father-in-law, waiting for him to regain consciousness, when the doctor came in to give us the update. (Never have I felt such love for my father-in-law as when he said, nicely but sternly, “Doctor, we want to manage this situation for no pain.”) It wasn’t a dangerous operation, but suddenly I knew that I’d leave that hospital a lot older than I’d come in.

But sometimes split-second-aging feels good. Several years ago, my mother, sister, and I organized a surprise party for my father in my apartment, and the oversized flower arrangement made a big impression on my four-year-old. When a babysitter arrived to watch her while the party was going on, I overheard my daughter explain in a soft voice, “My mommy is having a flower party.”

Suddenly, I felt like the the omnipotent Mommy of my own childhood, or Mrs. Dalloway. I felt grown-up in a way I never had before — in a pleasing way.

The passage of time is one of the great currents of life that affect happiness. Split-second-aging isn’t a happy feeling or an unhappy feeling, but it is a weighty feeling.

Do you know what I’m talking about? Am I the only one who has experienced split-second-aging?

* I can’t get over how nice people are being about my forthcoming book – Karl over at the great blog Work Happy Now! wrote an incredibly generous post.

* Speaking of people being helpful and nice, if you’d like to volunteer to help me from time to time with The Happiness Project, you can sign up here. Super-Fans, THANKS again for all your help.