Do You Struggle to Give Up an Object that Once Served You Well? For Me, My Laptops.

“We conceive…a sort of gratitude for those inanimated objects, which have been the causes of great or frequent pleasure to us. The sailor, who, as soon as he got ashore, should mend [build] his fire with the plank upon which he had just escaped from a shipwreck, would seem to be guilty of an unnatural action. We should expect that he would rather preserve it with care and affection, as a monument that was, in some measure, dear to him.”

–Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments

I love this passage, but the old-fashioned language may make it difficult to understand Smith’s point: when some object has done us great service, we’re reluctant to get rid of it.

Do you feel this way? I sure do.

For instance, as I write about in Happier at Home, I found it hard to say good-bye to my old laptops. We’d been through so much together! They’d worked so hard for me, we’d had so many good times together! But the old laptops were starting to take up a lot of space. I took a photograph of them, as a memento, and then sent them on their way.

On my Facebook Live video yesterday, we talked about the issue of managing mementos. Viewers suggested a lot of great hacks.

Mementos serve as important reminders of the people, places, and activities we love, and dear objects make our homes feel more homey. As long as they don’t get too overwhelming!

Do you have a possession that’s no longer useful, but is hard to relinquish, because of the part is has played? A tennis racquet you enjoyed for many years, a dead cell phone…?

Wow, I’m just realizing that in my life as a writer, I really do burn through laptops.

I Need Suggestions! What’s a Great Book to Read on an Airplane?

My daughter and I are going to London next week. I’m not a huge traveler, but I know that novelty and challenge boost happiness, that new experiences stay in the memory better than familiar experiences, and that shared adventures are a great way to get closer to the people we love. And in case there are traveling challenges along the way, I always comfort myself with the Secret of Adulthood that my mother taught me: The things that go wrong often make the best memories.

Plus I do love London.

But here’s my question: what books should I take? I’ll have a lot of airplane time, and I love to read on airplanes — I get to focus, without interruption, for so long.  Plus I’ll have reading time while we’re there.

What books do you suggest? I have a bunch of books in my stack, but none of them seem right. For instance, I have a lot of books about color, but several of them are extremely heavy, and as obsessed as I am with color, it’s not a subject that I want to read about for five hours straight.

I want a terrific, gripping, beautifully written novel or memoir or book of history.  And I want paperback, so it’s easier to carry.

My husband suggested John Le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Thumbs up?

What else would you suggest?

I checked out three e-books from the library (technology is amazing), but I do like to bring physical books as well.

Do you love reading on airplanes? Where’s your favorite place to read?

I’m going to the bookstore this weekend, so make your suggestions quickly!

Podcast 75: Develop a Minor Expertise, a Deep Dive into Signature Color, and How Do You Help a Rebel Sweetheart to Get a New Job?

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

Update: We won an award! At the recent Podcast Movement conference, Happier with Gretchen Rubin won the Academy of Podcasters “Best Health and Fitness Podcast 2016.” Exciting!

Try This at Home: Develop a minor expertise. Right now, I’m obsessed with color. The most fascinating, delightful subject ever.

Happiness Hack: I love the app TimeHop. It shows me what I was doing one year ago today, four years ago today, etc. Fun memories. If you like this one-year-ago-today way of remembering, you might enjoy The Happiness Project One-Sentence Journal: a Five-Year Record. I have to say, I’ve been surprised by how popular this journal has proved to be.

Deep Dive: So many fascinating comments and observations about having a signature color, coming off our discussion in episode 71. Listener enthusiasm got me color-obsessed!

Listener Question:Two listeners ask the same question: How do you help a Rebel sweetheart pursue a career change? If you want to take the Four Tendencies quiz, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, it’s here.

Elizabeth’s Demerit and Gold Star: In a single afternoon, Elizabeth got  a demerit for losing her temper with Adam, then she got a gold star for being spontaneous and going to get a drink at a hotel bar with him.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, tune in Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

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And check out BlueApron.comWish you cooked more? Get all the delicious, fresh ingredients you need to make great meals, delivered to your front door. Check out BlueApron.com/happier to get your first three meals free.

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Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #75

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HAPPIER listening!

What Are the Funniest Movies? 11 Suggestions to Get You Thinking.

I have a friend who’s going through a very rough patch, and I said to him, “You need to take short breaks from your worries. Why don’t you make an effort to watch funny movies? They’ll give you a little boost, when you’re feeling low. And taking good care of yourself will help you deal with this situation better.”

He agreed, but as we were talking about it, he said, “Maybe it’s because of everything I’m dealing with, but I can’t think of anything I want to see. The only funny movie I can think of is Caddyshack. And I’m not even a huge fan of Caddyshack.

So I want to make him a long list of funny movies, Some thoughtful, some goofy, some old, some new, so he has something for every mood. I’m sure this list could be much longer.

What movies have I overlooked — or never seen myself?

 

Watching funny movies or TV is a great way to get a quick mood boost. It’s true: laughter is good medicine.

It made me happier just to think about these movies! This list would make a great appendix to my book about happiness, The Happiness Project.

What movie can make you laugh, every time?

A Little Happier: Why General Eisenhower Sent a 15-Word Telegram Instead of an Elaborate Message.

This  story makes me choke up, every time.

I came across so many powerful stories like this when I was researching Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill. What a subject!

Have you ever had an experience like this — when you felt that you could say more, by using fewer words?

Sometimes, a lot of words only diminish what we want to convey.

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Happier listening!