Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Let's Do The Time Warp Again

Yesterday I visited the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill with my daughter. Gorgeous place. The weather was perfect, the students were perfect (in that bouncy blond ponytail sort of way.) We got a personal tour of the journalism school from a professor who was also perfect—warm, inviting, enthusiastic.

I would have expected to feel a little wistful, wishing for a do-over. But this experience was so much about my daughter—and about a time in life that is all hers—that it only made me excited for her. (Plus, I have no interest in living in a cell, sitting in a stall every time I have to pee, and sleeping in a bunkbed with a tattered couch and pile of dirty clothes underneath. Or having to walk five minutes in the pouring rain just to eat breakfast with 200 other people.)

Looking backward didn't make me wistful; it made me appreciate how my own choice of college and career worked out so well for me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happiness...It Doesn't Just Happen

Yesterday I got an email from a blogger I've never heard of—at least I don't think I have—named Gretchen Rubin. She's got a very cool blog called The Happiness Project www.happiness-project.com, and unlike SOME people we know, she posts everyday about her pursuit of joy and fulfillment. Good pursuit. Much better than accepting a lack of joy and fulfillment, which we all do at some time or another.

Rubin's blog shares a lot of the sentiment behind The List. Primarily, it promotes the idea that happiness stems from taking action and doing the unexpected — and that it doesn't have to be a grand life-altering move, either. (Although as we've seen in The List, big steps often lead to big-time fulfillment).

Her April Fool's prank, for instance, was as big a kick for her as it was for her kids, even though it took very little effort. She had started a tradition of celebrating holidays at breakfast, so on April 1st, she dyed the kids' cereal milk green, and shocked them when she poured it into their bowls. They all laughed as their teeth and tongues turned green. That's a great start to the day, if you ask me. And holiday breakfast is a great tradition.

Pursuit is the key here. Happiness, and the shakeups that often lead to it, don't just fall in our laps. We make them happen. Rubin's blog is a nice reminder of that.

And Gretchen, if in fact we just had dinner together and I don't remember the good time we had, let alone your name, I'm really sorry for being such a dunderhead. Seems the older I get, the more those things happen.