Podcast 222: Go Someplace By Yourself, Make Conversation with a Child, and an Easy Way to Remember Something Important.


In episode 218, we discussed “investing in your identities.” A listener who listed “more music” as one of her “18 for 2018” reports that she began a hymn sing for residents at her mother’s assisted living facility.   

Here’s the New York Times article I mention—Sara Davidson’s “The Songs They Can’t Forget“—about research that shows that when all other means of communications have shut down, people remember and respond to music. 

Later in the episode, I talk about the great podcast, The Jordan Harbinger Show. If you want to listen to the episode we discuss, the one featuring Cal Newport, it’s here.

Try This at Home

Go someplace by yourself. Try a self-care day, going to the movies by yourself, or attending a reunion alone. I mention the podcast Bitch Sesh: A Real Housewives Breakdown. I never listen to the podcast, and I don’t watch any of the Real Housewives shows, but I loved this live event.

Happiness Hack

A listener reports that when she needs to remember to bring something with her (groceries she bought during the work day, her gym bag), she puts her car keys next to that item. Because she can’t leave without her car keys, she never forgets to bring that item with her.

Happiness Stumbling Block

It can be hard to find make meaningful conversation with a child who’s important to you. The solution? Talk about what interests that child, not what interests you.

Listener Question

How can an Obliger avoid being exploited by non-Obliger family members? The answer for an Obliger is always the same: Create outer accountability. I mention my post “Resentful? Overworked? Face These Painful Facts about Shared Work.” Remember, if you want to find out your own Tendency—if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel—you can take the quick, free quiz here.

Elizabeth’s Demerit

She knew she had a formal event coming up, but didn’t look for a dress until the last minute. If she’d started earlier, it would have been easier and less stressful to find an outfit. Elizabeth mentions the site Rent the Runway. She waited too long to be able to use this service. 

Gretchen’s Gold Star

With a group of old friends from high school, we’ve figured out a standardized vacation as a way to get together regularly. This will make getting together easier in the future.


  1. Do you love to read? Do you want to get regular book recommendations from me in your inbox? Each month, I write a blog about what I read that month, and I also occasionally write lists of recommended books on a topic. To get these post by email, visit gretchenrubin.com/#newsletter and after you enter your email address, select “book recommendations” and any other newsletter topics you’re interested in.
  2. I recently updated the PDF on my website that has all the “Try This at Home” ideas from this podcast. Download it at gretchenrubin.com/resources.

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