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The Happiness Project: March, part III

March 13, 2010

I’m continuing to read through Gretchen Rubin’s NY Times bestseller, The Happiness Project, a book in which Gretchen proposes monthly ideas to promote happiness. This month, Gretchen discusses research that suggests people who work more are happier, and a week ago (forgive the time lapse), I mentioned how difficult, yet appropriate, these thoughts were in my own life, since I’m currently beginning month #8 without a full time job.

Gretchen’s final thoughts in March’s chapter revolve around the concept of the arrival fallacy, “the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you’ll be happy…The arrival fallacy is a fallacy because, though you may anticipate great happiness in arrival, arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate.” Reading that was a nice reality check, because I’ve tended to have a belief that whenever I find a job, my feelings of worthlessness will subside and I’ll be able to re-enter the mode my ultra-efficient mode that I described in yesterday’s blog.

Gretchen continues, “By the time you’ve reached at your destination, you’re expecting to reach it, so it has already been incorporated into your happiness…The challenge, therefore, is to take pleasure in the ‘atmosphere of growth,’ in the gradual progress made toward a goal, in the present.”

So much of my thought the last several weeks has revolved around the future–whenever I can get out of this current season, when the rains come and replenish me with zest and excitement. What is my schedule going to look like when I have a job? When am I going to find out whether or not I’m still in the running for this job? Is it even worth it for Katie and I to be in Abilene with its saturation of older, more experienced therapists?

The question that I want to practice answers to this week is “How do I find happiness, presence, and peace of mind in seasons of drought?”

This week, starting today, I have several opportunities to forget about those questions and focus on opportunities to be present with friends and during exciting events. Today, Katie and I are going to Lubbock for the wedding of our friend Amanda, who was in the MFT program with me. We’re also meeting our friend LeighAnne for lunch/coffee–she’s a friend of mine from high school youth camp who knew Katie when she was in elementary school. Long story. Thursday through Saturday, we’re going to Austin for another friend’s wedding and staying with our friend Craig and his new wife. I get to lead worship tomorrow and next Sunday at Highland. One of my favorite sporting events, the beginning of March Madness, starts on Thursday–I will be at the gym Thursday watching first round games while running on the elliptical until we leave for Austin.

My prayer for myself is that these questions of fear and uncertainty will be erased this week and that I can enjoy the excitement of cheering on my college basketball picks, waking up early in the morning, and celebrating life with friends.

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