People often ask me, “Come on. Has doing your happiness project really made you happier?”
The answer is YES.
Today, for example, I’m very happy because a package arrived in the mail from New Haven, due directly to a convergence of many happiness project resolutions…
“Be Gretchen.” I embraced my true interests and passions, including the love of children’s literature, which, for a long time, I denied.
“Reach out,” “Bring people together,” “Spend time with bookish people.” I started a children’s literature reading group.
“Follow my curiosities.” After my children’s literature reading group read Peter Pan, I became very interested in J. M. Barrie, and I read Andrew Birkin’s terrific biography, J. M. Barrie and the Lost Boys. Birkin gives a tantalizingly brief description of a book Barrie made with photographs of his muses, the four Llewelyn boys. Barrie produced just two copies of The Boy Castaway of Black Lake Island, and one copy was lost immediately.
“Take time for adventures.” Having noted that the one extant copy of The Boy Castaways was in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, I made a pilgrimage to New Haven to see it for myself.
“Indulge in a modest splurge.” The moment I laid eyes on it, I realized that I HAD to have a copy! Digital images of the entire volume had been made, so I could order my own copy. It was a not-so-modest splurge, actually, but I bought a copy of the book. It arrived today, and it is so fabulous!
“Think big,” “Make time for projects.” Inspired by The Boy Castaways, a very creative friend and I are planning a similar project using our children.
Every single element in this chain of events made me feel happy and energized. I’m so excited to have my very own copy of this book and to be starting an enormously challenging, creative project with a friend and our children.
I am 100% positive that before I started my happiness project and committed to my resolutions, I wouldn’t have started the book group, I wouldn’t have read the Barrie biography, I wouldn’t have traveled out of town to the Beinecke, I wouldn’t have splurged on the book—so it would never have occurred to me to collaborate on an homage to Barrie.
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