The Happiness Project Experience - June
I found the month of June to be one of the hardest so far, which is surprising considering its topic - play. On the flip side, as far as course content goes, this month’s was one of my favorites. The interview was great, and all the extra videos were informative, actionable, and interesting. Plus, one was about reading, basically my favorite thing - it doesn’t get much better than that.
As I wrote out my list for myself, I knew a couple would take much longer than the others, but some of them still surprised me. I settled on five goals for June:
Make a summer joy list
Plan a trip with my sister
Decide each day when I am done with work
Read Les Miserables, Joyful, and Play
Make a list of 50 interests
I had lots of ideas for what I could do in June that would be considered "play," or if not play, then at least fun. But I knew June was going to be a busy month (with work, go figure). So instead of trying to fit all of the fun activities into June, I decided (at the prompting of one of the course videos) to make a summer joy list. It’s basically like a bucket list, full of things I could do over the next couple of months that would make me happier! I made the list and did manage to check a couple of things off in June. I have plans to complete several more in July, and we’ll see which I can manage to pull off with little or no planning at all (I’m trying to up my spontaneity over here).
This second goal was another that I wasn’t sure I necessarily could accomplish this month, but that I knew would be a fun "play" activity for the summer. My sister has been away at boarding school for 2018/2019, and she is finally back home. I wanted to take some time in the next couple months to do an activity or two just the two of us. Since I wasn’t sure what that would be, I couldn’t just add this to my summer joy list. I also knew it might take a bit more planning than some of the things on there. Regardless, we settled on an extended shopping trip and a visit to some family about an hour away. It's not quite what I was expecting, but it will be fun nonetheless. And it gives me something to look forward to - another important element of happiness.
I anticipated my third goal to be a challenge - and it was. As I discussed a bit last month during the month of work, I don’t just have a 9 to 5, but I have several other jobs and activities that I do which I consider to be “work”. So when I pull out of the office parking lot each evening, I’m not necessarily off work. I tend to go home and pick up my laptop and start on another project or head straight from the office to work with a client. Even when I’m done with the more obvious work, I find myself strategically pinning on Pinterest or scheduling social media posts even while I’m watching TV. So I knew that in order to try and incorporate more play into my life, I needed to set aside time for it to happen. Even if it didn’t, I was giving it space where it could. This helped immensely. I didn’t always use the time super productively, but allowing myself the excuse to not constantly be working or feeling like I should be working, was incredibly freeing. There were a few days when I had to pause my “done with work” time and finish a couple more tasks, or days when I said it as I was climbing into bed. Thankfully, these days were few and far between. The couple of days I forgot to tell myself I was “done with work” I did find to be less relaxing. So I will definitely be sticking with this goal into the future until I naturally make time to play each day - or at least not work.
While I generally read a lot, I still felt like my reading goals for this month were a bit ambitious. Les Miserables is a big book, but since I was reading it for fun - I felt that it aligned with the purpose of the month. The other two were mentioned in the course material itself so I knew they would expand my knowledge and (hopefully) enjoyment for the month (and beyond). For my full review of the books, check out the Books of June 2019 post. But know that I did get them all finished!
This final goal was another one that I found to be harder than I had expected - I mean, 50 interests don’t seem like that many. I feel like I’m a relatively nerdy person with varied interests - but apparently not. I did eventually manage to think of 50, but it took much more thought, time, and effort than I expected. But this list though may come in handy in the future. It reminded me that there are many things in life that fascinate me and that I might enjoy doing for work or for fun. Sometimes feel like I can get stuck on one mental path with my goals clearly laid out in front of me, so this allowed me to see that there are countless paths down which I could travel where I would be happy. And there are many pursuits I can and should make time for - both for the whimsy and happiness they would add to my life.
June was a fun month of play - but also a fun month of expectation. I have exciting things planned (or not planned because I’m going to try and be spontaneous) for the summer. They will all help me to take a break from work and relax. Even though working makes me happy (most of the time), it is nice to prioritize time away from my desk, or laptop, or car. This month helped to make play, fun. And that is a great happiness booster.
Until next time,