One of the starting points of my Happiness Project actually began earlier this year, as I started to formulate my own set of “Personal Commandments”. The idea is that you use the commandments as a set of guiding principles for the resolutions one makes as part of the Happiness Project.
My commandments vary from single words to quotations. Some of these are quotations from literature, some of them are things that I picked up from other people. One of them is now the name of my Happiness Project because I think it’s so important. Another is my blog name with a little addition. They are:
Time is how you spend your love.
Embrace the seasons.
Be mistress of myself.
Live more, write more, read more.
Wear it out.
Plan for serendipity.
Choose passion not stress.
Variety and moderation.
I’m not saying that I’m succeeding yet, in living my life by this set of rules. But coming up with the list was fun, particularly when I realised that a lot of these were things I already believed – I wasn’t making them up for the project, they’re actually part of what I already think. One of the pleasures, came from once I had composed the list of commandments, I really enjoyed writing them in a page in my bullet journal, with decoration. I am no great Pinterest example, but my bullet journal is one of my favourite relaxing things to do. Then I took a picture of them and printed it out and pinned it to my desk at work. Not because work is especially where I need to pay attention to these commandments, but because I feel like I spend more waking time at my work desk that anywhere else.
In my last post, I explained that I had been inspired by Gretchen Rubin, who writes about “happiness, habits and human nature” to begin my own happiness project. I’ve decided to call it “Embrace the Seasons”.
The idea of turning happiness into a project makes it sound like hard work, and even a bit ridiculous. Please, dear readers, don’t think that I’m unhappy, I’m a pretty happy person despite loving a good whinge. I know that I am also fortunate, and privileged, and all those other things that come with the accident of my birth in a certain financial strata of society in a certain time period. My children are healthy, I have a home, I have family, friends, a career.
In so many ways, my life works for me. But some days I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round and I can’t get off. It’s a feeling I think so many people have, especially in the child-rearing, career-growing years. It’s not much fun when you’re stuck on the merry-go-round and beyond it, life seems to be a blur, passing by without me noticing that I am missing out. The pause of the summer break helped me to realise that I want to stop and see beyond the routines and term times and school holidays, jumping from weekend to weekend, commuting, emailing, life lived by my Outlook calendar, and see what really matters. Holidays have a way of focusing the mind like that. But we can’t be on holiday all the time. So for me, while my Happiness Project does have some elements that are more about self-development and self-awareness, in many ways, I’m setting myself goals to help me to pay more attention to my life.
Also, I am a terrible faddist, and there’s nothing I love more than starting a new project. Finishing one… well that’s a rarer occurrence. So to those ends, I am looking for some accountability. Therefore, please please do feel free to comment, ask questions and keep me on track. A year is a long time.
With that in mind, I thought I’d share my intentions for September, and the focus area for each month of the year. In some cases the titles are a bit metaphorical, and in others they’re very literal.
My Happiness Project – Embrace the Seasons
September – Embrace the Seasons
Embrace the season:
– make a photo album to celebrate the summer
– back to school pictures
– plan some after school treats
Time is how you spend your love:
– three things for myself every day (bullet journal list)
– track my time
The days are long but the years are short (be a better parent):
– No snapping and no meanness
– No complaining
– Be prepared (snacks and water!)
– Read more
– Balance head vs. heart
October – Harvest
November – Productivity
December – Light
January – Pilgrimage and Adventure
February – Ice Queen
March – Lent
April – Spring
May – Queen Bee
June – Curate My Life
July – Full Bloom
August – Holiday