I took my colander and my “solar viewers” to Central Park on Monday to enjoy the eclipse. I wanted to experience this moment in a crowd of people, and I wasn’t disappointed—the park was packed. It was a festive way to enjoy the experience. One of the biggest surprises: How much the temperature dropped. One of my favorite moments: When we all burst into applause when the sun was at its most covered.

5 Things Making Me Happy​

The excitement around this week’s eclipse reminded me of one of my Secrets of Adulthood: “Just as crowds marvel at the sun only on the day of the eclipse, the more reliable we are, the more others take us for granted—and the more starkly any mistake stands out.”

National Siblings Day was April 10th. On a recent trip to our hometown, Kansas City, my sister and I recreated old family photos together. It’s so fun to engage with these old memories in new ways.

When I was researching Life in Five Senses, I was surprised to realize how little research has been done on the healing aspects of touch, so I was interested to see that a large scientific review tackled that subject—I think this is a very useful aspect to explore. For instance, researchers note the massive benefits of touch for premature babies. My daughter Eliza was born prematurely, and I’m so grateful that her doctors knew to encourage me to do “kangaroo care”—I sat in a glider holding her against my bare stomach for hours each day until she came home from the hospital. Intriguing: research suggests that newborn babies benefit more from their parents’ touch than from a stranger’s touch. One thing I learned from writing Life in Five Senses is that I’m far more touch-focused than I realized. (I’m still puzzled by how I couldn’t know such an obvious thing about myself! But that’s why I needed to write that book.)

One highlight of my week was attending a celebration for author Anne Lamott. She just published her twentieth book—Somehow: Thoughts on Love—and she just turned seventy years old. I love Anne’s work and have read just about everything she has written. For a very long time, I’ve had a special feeling for her, because she and I served as bridesmaids together. Our mutual friend’s wedding happened when I was in law school, and I was so awed in Anne’s presence that I don’t think I spoke a word to her.

As I read, I pay special attention to remarkable similes and metaphors. Here are a few that caught my eye recently: “The biggest piece of art was a large white canvas that looked like a wall hanging on a wall.” —From Leslie Jamison, Splinters. “Two stylists yanked me inside as if I were a spy about to blow my cover.” —From Sloane Crosley, Look Alive Out There. “From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.” —Henry Matisse with Pierre Courthion, Chatting with Matisse.


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This week on Happier with Gretchen Rubin


We talk about why it’s a good idea to show ourselves (inspired by a Hollywood headshot story). We also tackle a listener’s question about how to recognize when we’ve become a mentor and the happiness stumbling block of dreading plans, even when they will be a lot of fun. Plus a listener suggests a great hack for using an Altoids tin.

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Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.