The Happiness Project and Helena’s Lemonade Pitcher

One year. Twelve resolutions. A happy author who regurgitated a New York Times bestseller.

And what does that make me? A learned reader. Hopefully one who succeeds in filling up her lemonade pitcher… (more on this later)

I remember that it was in April when I bought this light blue paperback. It had yellow text, and a charm that was not to be passed over among the titles in the bookstore’s shelf. I was unhappy at the time and I had hoped that this book will give answers to why I was so miserable. I bought it so that I can enjoy what I was doing with my life at the time. Ironically, I only managed to start reading it last month, when I was in the worst state of health and when I was out of a fulltime job.

I am going to be honest. At first, I was not thoroughly engaged with Gretchen Rubyn’s “The Happiness Project.” I don’t know why, but I got bored somewhere in the middle and then stopped reading it for a few weeks. Sorry for this, Gretchen.

But I had sour lemon experiences that needed addressing and I decided to just finish the book and take what’s useful or applicable to my life. I am thankful for making that decision; the book had insights that prompted me to make lemonade out of my life’s seemingly sour lemons. I got used to the dry, almost mechanical style with which the concept of happiness was addressed. Maybe that’s what put me off a little at first.

Hers was not the most prolific of writing styles. But it’s much better in style than other self-help books I have read in the past. The fact that it was divided into twelve month-sized chunks made the concepts easier to digest. The candid style with which Rubyn also admitted how she failed on some cranky days made it very relatable to average Janes like me. It paled in comparison with the prose of the book I read before it (The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera); I do have to admit that it’s an apple and orange comparison and therefore does not make sense. Or maybe I am just cranky and hard to please as of the time of this writing.

I realized that I pursued some of the things she outlined in the book, and now is a good time to revisit those pursuits. If she had that Happiness Project, I am making mine into a Lemonade Pitcher project, which is a spinoff from when life hands you lemons, enjoy the sour freebies and make some lemonade.

I managed to make some lemonade this month. An article that got rejected two weeks ago sold for twice the price two days ago. This horrible fever that has me bedridden for a second day in a row prompted me to finish Rubyn’s book and post in Helena through my Blackberry. Pursuing freelance allowed me to make time and take some risks (please see previous post for more details).

My lemonade pitcher’s half full. And knowing life, it will never run out of sour lemons. It’s how I deal with it that matters more. Thanks, Gretchen Rubyn. The existence of your project helped me pursue my own happiness. And I actually became more forgiving of myself for those sour moments I am inclined to giving into myself.