Books + Life: The Happiness Project and #Happier2017

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I was serious when I said that I’m going to actively pursue happiness this year! So serious, that I ordered a book about it called The Happiness Project. I heard about the book because I listen to the author’s, Gretchen Rubin, podcast. In the podcast Gretchen and her sister, Liz, discuss all things happiness and well being. I recommend the podcast if you are looking for a boost or some tips for sticking to your resolutions. It isn’t too heavy and usually they have pretty fun conversations with good advice to boot.

The book is of this same vein. Yes, it is a self-help book, but for the most part it is in first person with bits of research here and there to backup the things Gretchen is trying in her pursuit for a happier life.

I’m only in chapter one, so I guess nothing I say should start with, “for the most part.” The book and her project is broken down into twelve sections and twelve ways that she wants to improve her life.

This book speaks to me because Gretchen is happy. She realizes that she has a great life, doesn’t want for anything, a stable family and healthy kids. I often feel this way. I have everything I need (and more), but still feel dissatisfied. First. World. Problems.

My goal isn’t to change my life; my goal is to change the way I look at my life and embrace it. I’m going to break my year down into twelve parts and twelve areas where I need an attitude or lifestyle adjustment. For example, stop complaining so much (attitude adjustment) and get to sleep at a decent hour (lifestyle adjustment).

So, in closing, my project is going pretty well so far. I am working hard on keeping my resolutions and to enjoy our new life here. The other day, I told my friend Caitlin that, “If I don’t think about it, I don’t hate Seattle that much.” And, it is true! In little ways, it is feeling more like home.  When Zach and I got home from Christmas in Utah we redecorated the apartment and that felt good. I’m working harder on building relationships here and strong friendships. I’m getting involved in the community and projects that I care about. All good things.

Xoxo

Books + Life: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

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Last Christmas Zach got me a book called, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I didn’t read it. I had no interest in it, mainly because I was worried it would stress me out — Would it make me feel incompetent? Or that my running schedule wasn’t good enough?

I finally gave it a chance last weekend as part of my New Year resolutions…and to get out of skiing because cold and gross. But mostly, I figured reading a book about running would be a good boost for me as I start running again. And, I’m really glad I gave it that chance.

There was nothing anxiety inducing or even eye-opening about the book. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but I knew a lot of the stuff he was talking about. It felt like a conversation.

The book is simply Haruki Murakami‘s love letter to running. The book was originally written in Haruki’s native Japanese and translated by Philip Gabriel. It details his experiences training for the NYC Marathon and other races in between. It talks about the places he has traveled and the people he has met along the way, and at the center of it all is running.

I connected with this book. I felt like the things Haruki wrote about were things I would write about from the kind of music he likes to listen to, to eating habits — a developing aversion to meat and sweets.

This book was the perfect way to start the new year and jump-start my goal of running more this year. I’m sorry to Zach for avoiding it for one whole year, however it seems like I picked up at the perfect time in my life. It is funny how things work that way!

Remember That One Time …

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Zach and I had a pretty mellow night last night. We went to a bar called Big Time Brewery, had a pitcher, watched Dragon Ball Z and rang in the New Year with about fifteen strangers. It was perfect; low key and not crowded.

Since 2016 ended as a relatively peaceful year, I guess it was guaranteed that 2017 would start like no other.

On our walk home, it started to snow. When we turned onto our road, I noticed a pile on the sidewalk in front of our house. As we got closer, it became apparent that the pile was a person. Specifically, a young girl in a long red coat and a not long cocktail dress.

“Are you OK?” we asked her. “Mmmmm.” groaned the lump. “Do you need help?” “Yuuuugh.” She replied.

We took that as a yes and helped her to her feet. I slung her arm over my shoulder and started helping her make her way into our apartment. I asked her a few basic questions, “Do you want us to give you a ride home? Did you take anything other than alcohol that we should be worried about? Do you have a roommate that I can get ahold of?” She couldn’t give me a straight answer, so I figured once we got her inside we could get her a glass of water and let her collect herself a bit.

Because this is America and we live near a college campus I knew I had to ask, “Did anything bad happen to you?” She said no and and there weren’t any signs of distress. I breathed a sigh of relief.

We got her inside and Zach went to get her some water and a bowl in case she needed to throw up. Much to our surprise, instead of sitting down on the chair, she flung herself backward onto the couch and immediately passed out. The only other words we got out of her were, “It’s super cold,” so we covered her with blankets and turned up the heater.

After all, it was below freezing outside and aside from her coat, she didn’t have a lot to keep her warm. Her legs and hands were bright red from the cold. About two minutes after we covered her, she stuck her feet out from under the blankets and mumbled, “shoes.”

I briefly debated calling the cops, just in case something went wrong. But, other than being a little too drunk and needing to rest, it didn’t seem like anything was the matter. So, I took her shoes off and left her to sleep it off.

I stayed home for college. My wild Friday nights were made up of sharing a couple glasses of wine on the couch with my parents while watching a movie. I told Zach, “I can’t believe this! Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.” I expected him to agree, but turns out he was not too surprised. Not only did he have a few wild nights of his own at Penn State, but has some “epic” tales from the Navy. These include the time in Florida where he woke up on a roof after a night out and the time a girl wandered into his apartment in Japan in the middle of the night and just hopped into bed! Apparently, her buddy lived next door and she was just a little confused in her drunkenness.

Our young adventurer woke us up around 5am when she needed to use the restroom. As she was putting on her shoes and coat, I offered to give her a ride home, walk home with her or let her stay until it was light outside.

She just smiled, half-drunkenly, opened up her arms and gave me a bear hug, “it’s fine. It’s fine,” she said and patted my face. After watching her make her way down the flight of stairs and down the sidewalk, I closed and locked the door.

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I slipped into bed next to Zach and fell back asleep in just a few minutes. When I woke up this morning, I had to think for a minute to make sure it wasn’t all just a buzzed dream. But, the dirt on the couch and the pile of blankets on the floor assured me it wasn’t.

I’m not sure what 2017 has in store for us, but it already seems like we are in for quite an adventure …

Year In Review – 2016

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Happy New Year!!!

I have a tendency to focus on the negative; Zach didn’t do the dishes. I miss my family. I ate too many chips, now my tummy hurts. Seattle is a terrible place to live. Basically, I hate ______ . Apparently, complaining all the time gave Zach the wrong impression about my outlook on life. “Why aren’t you happy?” he asked me one day.

“I am happy!” was my first thought when he asked that. But, I’m not giving that impression, am I?

So — instead of saying how sad 2016 made me, I’m going to focus on the positive or put a spin on things. What good is a master’s degree in marketing if I can’t spin my own life in my favor?

  1. We have an awesome opportunity to explore a cool new city!
  2. I have the opportunity to make new friends here!
  3. By living in a new place, I can ditch old, toxic relationships and “friendships”!
  4.  Zach and I got married! (which is good on its own, no spin needed!)
  5.  …

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2017 is going to be AWESOME! Yes. Ok. I’ll still be sarcastic, as shown above. But! I’m going to be happy. When I thought about Zach’s comment, I’m not as happy as I should be and the only thing to blame is my mindset. One really hard thing happened to me this year and that was Kitty’s passing. She was my best friend and with me since I was nine. But, other than that, my unhappiness is my own.

I have a few great resolutions. The top two being: make friends in Seattle and work on mindfulness. A few of the more random ones are run two 13.1 races, read 52 books (I read around 60 this year), eat more veggies! Isn’t that on everyone’s list?

Happy New Year friends, here is looking to 2017 and may it be 1,000,000% wonderful! I love you all! xoxoxoxoxo