The days are long but the years are short – and I’m in shock to realize that today is the twelfth anniversary of this blog. Which I usually don’t even call my "blog" anymore, because that seems so dated; now I just refer to this destination as my "site."
Here's a link to my very first entry: The blog begins. It has gone through many renovations since that time. And I’ve written more than 3000 posts since I began. Thank you to my blog reader, Samantha, for letting me know about Wayback Machine, which was how I got these old images of previous versions of this site.
When I started this blog, I had no expectations for it; I started it as a way to test the happiness finding that novelty and challenge bring happiness. What could I do that was novel and challenging? I decided to try starting a blog.
It’s funny to look back and realize that I started my blog before I started using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, podcast, my newsletter, my "Moment of Happiness" daily email, the Better app...any of that. I’m sure that my happy experience with my blog made me more open to the possibilities of using other social media.
I remember that all those twelve years ago, I was very nervous about putting my words out into the world directly -- and I comforted myself with the thought that it didn't matter what it looked like because no one would ever read it. I fully expected to give my blog a good honest try, and then to abandon it, just as I did my gratitude journal. But my blog changed my life.
It's unnerving to reflect on how flippantly I undertook this project. I might well have tried something else novel and challenging, like learning the ukulele. It's unnerving because now this blog is a major engine of happiness in my life.
Bonus: it’s been so fun to hear from many people about how they’ve started their own blogs, after reading about my experience of doing so in my book The Happiness Project.
If you’d like to read highlights from this site, check out the ebook, The Best of The Happiness Project Blog: Ten Years of Happiness, Good Habits, and More, which features my favorite posts from the first ten years of this site.
Having this site gives me creative freedom—I can put my words out into the world directly and immediately, with no editor or publisher to accommodate. It gives me the ability to think more deeply—only through writing do I learn new subjects or have original ideas, and I often test a new idea by writing about it here. It gives me an identity—just as the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast has given me new friends, new knowledge, new affiliations, new conferences to attend, so has this site. And it gives me a way to shine a spotlight on the work of other people—something that gives me great joy.
Best of all, having this site gives me a way to engage with others on fascinating issues. Readers, your comments here have done so much to deepen my understanding of my subject—which, at the core, is human nature. Thank you. I so appreciate your enthusiasm, your support, and your brilliant, thought-provoking insights, examples, and questions. It makes me so happy.