Secrets of Adulthood: You Know as Much as Most People.

From Further Secrets of Adulthood: You know as much as most people.

“I know as much as most people” is something that I remind myself when I’m confounded by an instruction manual, or by an app, or by some procedure I’m supposed to follow, or when I don’t know the meaning of a word, or I haven’t heard of some “well-known” figure.

I remind myself that if I can’t figure something out, I shouldn’t beat myself up about it.

This Secret of Adulthood is important to me, because I’m often reluctant to admit that I don’t know something or don’t know how to do something. I think I “should” know. This often happens so quickly that I don’t realize that I’m consciously doing it — only later, I think, “Why didn’t I ask…?” or “I never did quite understand…”

Now I remind myself: I know as much as most people, so I shouldn’t feel sheepish about asking about things I don’t know.

Do you do this?  Try to cover up a lack of knowledge?

Today Is the One-Year Anniversary of the Happiest Day of My Life. Here’s Why.

Actually, the one-year anniversary of the happiest day of my life happened over the weekend, so I waited until today to re-post this post from last year.

***

Assay: Today is one of the very happiest days of my life.

I was happy when my two daughters were born, but having a baby is such a tremendous new responsibility; I was extremely happy, but also awestruck and slightly terrified.

I was happy on my wedding day, but I was also worried about how the whole day would unfold. For instance, strangely, I was very concerned that my veil might fall off as I was going down the aisle.

Etc.

Today, though, I’m purely, absolutely happy.

In The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, I write about the fact that my husband got hepatitis C from a blood transfusion during a heart operation, when he was eight years old. You really don’t want to have hepatitis C; eventually, it destroys your liver. My husband tried many treatments over the years, but nothing worked.

I’ve so appreciated the thoughtfulness of readers who have emailed me to make sure that we knew about possible new treatments, or to send along their good wishes for my husband’s health. Last year, a new treatment was approved, and my husband went on it right away.

As of this morning, he has been declared CURED A few hours ago, we got the email from his extraordinary doctor, Dr. Leona Kim-Schluger. He is now free from the virus. It’s over.

I am so, so happy, and grateful, and relieved, and thrilled. I can’t really put it into words.

And yet there’s something more I want to say.

I love children’s literature, and at this minute, I’m reminded of a scene from one of my favorite books, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

It’s Meg’s wedding day, and she and Laurie start talking about drinking wine. Laurie explains, “I don’t care for it; but when a pretty girl offers it, one doesn’t like to refuse, you see.”

Meg answers, “But you will, for the sake of others, if not for your own. Come, Laurie, promise, and give me one more reason to call this the happiest day of my life.”

And in that spirit, my dear readers, out of the fullness of my heart, let me ask something of you, so I have one more reason to call this the happiest day of my life.

If you support organ donation, take a moment to take a step to show people how you feel — there are a lot of ways to do it. Sign the donor registry. Tell your friends and family that you’d want to donate your organs. Post a message on social media with the hashtag #organdonor.

It’s a rare privilege, granted to very few of us, to die in a way that permits us to donate our organs, and in a time of sorrow and shock, the people around you might not know what you would’ve wanted. Let them know, now, if you would want to be an organ donor. Over the last many years, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my husband’s liver, and I’m very glad that he gets to keep the one he was born with. But things might not have turned out this way.

Tears are running down my face…I’m beside myself with joy! I hardly know what to do with myself. What do you do on one of the happiest days of your life? I think I’ll go buy his favorite dessert: a pralines’n’cream ice cream cake.

***

Since I posted this, I’ve been thrilled by how many people let me know that they’d signed up to be organ donors. It’s so important, it makes me so happy to hear that.

Sorry, I’m Late! Book Club Choices for January. I Forgot!

I’ve never done this before — I forgot to post my book club choices at the first of the month! A thoughtful reader sent me a reminder.

Better late than never, so here you go.

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! Drumroll…

 

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

The Journal of Jules Renard

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An outstanding children’s book:

Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian

Buy from IndieBound; BN.com; Amazon.

 

An eccentric pick:

Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn

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.

In any event, I assure you that, for all the books I choose, I love them; I’ve read them at least twice if not many times; and they’re widely admired.

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

Podcast 46: Don’t Get Organized, Dealing with Sentimental Items, Dealing with Rewards and Treats–and We Hit Five Million!

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

Update: Elizabeth reports on reader advice about how she can make an appointment to get her hair cut.

Try This at Home: Don’t get organized. If you get rid of that stuff, you don’t have to organize it!

Happiness Stumbling Block: It’s tough to let go of sentimental items, but they can become overwhelming.

I mention my post “What do you do with holiday cards? Keep, Toss, Store…” Fascinating answers.

Listener Question: “How do you distinguish between rewards and treats, and how do you decide when you should get one?”

BarnabyinConeGretchen’s Demerit: Barnaby had an operation, and I didn’t react in a calm way. Here he is in his cone, or “Elizabethan collar” as the vet called it, which he did not enjoy. Now he’s all healed and free!

Eleanor’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to the podcast Another Round. Note: they do use strong language, if that’s an issue.

Newsflash! We hit five million downloads! While we were recording. Thank you, listeners, and thanks for recommending it to other people!

Remember, if you live in the Bay area:  Elizabeth and I are doing our first live recording of the podcast! January 21, Brava Theater, we hope to see you. Info and tickets here.  We’ll have two outstanding guests, Nir Eyal and Jake Knapp. Plus Elizabeth and I have planned special little treats, and you also get a copy of Better Than Before with your ticket.

 

As always, thanks to our terrific sponsors

Visit Framebridge.com — a terrific way to get your art and photos framed, in a super easy and affordable way. Use the code HAPPIER at checkout to get 20% off your first Framebridge order. Shipping is free.

Also check out Stamps.com. Want to avoid post-office pain, and buy and print official U.S. postage for any letter or package, right from your own computer and printer? Visit Stamps.com to sign up for a no-risk trial, plus a $110 bonus offer — just enter the promo code HAPPIER.

1pixHappier Podcast #46

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If you’re like me (until recently) you’re intrigued by podcasts, but you don’t know how to listen or subscribe. It’s very easy, really. Really.  To listen to more than one episode, and to have it all in a handier way, on your phone or tablet, it’s better to subscribe. Really, it’s easy.

Want to know what to expect from other episodes of the podcast, when you listen toHappier with Gretchen Rubin?” We talk about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes).  We’re sisters, so we don’t let each other get away with much!

HAPPIER listening!

Want to Learn More about Yourself–and Instruct Me? Consider These Questions.

I write a lot about my Four Tendencies framework — and Elizabeth and I have talked a lot about it on our podcast. To find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel, go here, or take the online Quiz here.

I so appreciate all the readers and listeners who have shared their insights and experiences — it has given me such deeper insight into the Four Tendencies.

I introduce the framework in my book Better Than Before, and ever since the book came out, I’ve been deluged with people wanting more information about the Four Tendencies, how they interact. “How do I manage my Rebel child?” “How do I hire only Obligers?” “How can Questioners avoid analysis paralysis?” “Can’t you give more ideas for how Rebels can change their habits?” are some of the questions I keep getting.

So I’m working on a whole book on the Four Tendencies. With every book I write –I think, boy, it will never get better than this, I’ll never have this much fun writing a book again. And then I do. I never forget how lucky I am.

As I’m writing, I’d love to learn more about what you think about the following issues (or anything else, really):

  • Can you think of any famous examples of the Four Tendencies? Either in real life (Andre Agassi is an Obliger) or fictional (Hermione Granger is an Upholder).
  • Obligers, I’d love to hear about your experiences with Obliger-rebellion. What triggered it — and I’m even more curious to hear — what stopped it or cured it? Or if you’re close to an Obliger (and all of us are, because it’s such a large group), how did you address Obliger-rebellion?
  • If you’re someone who’s in a long-term relationship with a Rebel (which means you’re very likely to be an Obliger), how does that work out? One particular question: Does it give you a feeling of greater control of how things are done, do you respond to that?
  • What do you like or dislike about your Tendency? What would be the motto for your Tendency?
  • Have you noticed that you get along better, or worse, with a particular Tendency, and if so, why?
  • If you use the Four Tendencies at work, I’d love to hear about that. If you use it as a doctor, in hiring, as a nutritionist, as a teacher, as a manager, etc. — tell me about that.
  • How do you think your Tendency suits you to your job — or not?
  • How does your Tendency influence your romantic relationships?
  • Finally — and this is a big one — I need help with the title. I want to call the book “The Four _____ Tendencies” or “The Four Tendencies of _____.” How would you fill in that blank? Ideally, it’s a word that’s concrete and colorful and adds a layer of meaning beyond “Tendency” really to explain what this framework is about. Similar to “The Five Love Languages.Abstract concepts or adjectives, like Personality, Fundamental, Responsive, Self-Knowledge are apt but, I suspect, not as compelling. Think away! GOLD STAR if you come up with something terrific.

 

This is a lot of questions, I know, but I’m so curious.

Thanks, as always, for sending my your observations. I’m endlessly fascinated by the Four Tendencies, and just can’t read and hear enough about how they play out in people’s lives. Henry James himself couldn’t invent these marvelous, precise, riveting examples.

Let me know what you think, what you’ve noticed, what you’ve experienced.