Monday, January 31, 2011

Being yourself=being awesome

So, I'm currently reading this book called The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. It's written by this NYC resident who decided to spend a whole year working on different elements of her life, month by month, to create more overall happiness. It's really sort of an ironic read for me at this exact juncture in my life, but that's another topic for another day.

I bought the book from my ibooks app on my new iphone and I love it because now I can read on the subway instead of doing what I usually do, which is try not to stare at people who are trying not to stare at me. It's a fun game, but one I tire of quickly. So now I can stare at my iphone and pretend like the rest of the world doesn't exist, and this makes me a true New Yorker.

But, back to the book. I must say, I'm enjoying it and find myself thinking about it a lot. One thing I really like that she writes about is how she came up with twelve commandments for herself. The first one is "Be Gretchen," meaning it's important to be true to yourself and what makes YOU happy as much as possible. You need to come to grips with what you think is fun and interesting, and not feel like you should love something just because everyone else seems to.

I have probably mentioned this before, but I feel like I spent a great deal of my 20's worrying about what were the best ways to be a mom, dress, act, and play based on what I thought others were doing. For example, everyone was obsessed with scrap-booking, so I went and bought some scrap-booking supplies because that's what good moms did. I never wanted to touch those supplies and so I wondered what was wrong with me.

Around the time I hit 30, I had some real AHA! moments. I realized that I have no desire to scrapbook, and that's OK. I don't have to scrapbook to be a good mom, I don't have to like Coach purses to be stylish, and I don't have to watch SNL and Judd Apatow films to be funny. Once I had these revelations, I realized that it gave me more freedom to try different things that I might not have tried before, once I got rid of the pressure all around me to be good at them. Like running. I'm just not going to run a marathon. I know that. And so when all the ladies in my ward are discussing their training programs, I can smile and not feel uncomfortable because I know I can run 3 miles, and that's pretty awesome for me. "Being Hailey" gives me the freedom to be obsessed with Sci-Fi and post-apocalyptic scenarios, be sort of a food snob, watch a lot of TV, and get my biggest rush from the laughter of an audience. Being myself means I wear my Target threads with pride and never worry about stepping outside donning a cloche hat. It means I might not have anything to say when people start debating politics, but I will be the first to jump into an intense conversation about Gale vs. Peeta, or who should be cast as Katniss.

I've always told my kids, "Everyone has different talents," and I truly believe that there's a reason for that. Even though I don't sew, Rachel does, and so she makes me skirts and pillows. Even though I hate organizing projects, Lisa doesn't, and so she writes me amazing lists. Kacy knows the best books to read and how to make awesome play-lists. I'm not always sure what I contribute to others, but I think I'm fun to drink a Diet Coke and watch SYTYCD with, and maybe that is sort of a talent, right? I guess I've just learned the value in pursuing your own interests and passions, and letting others pursue theirs. And we are all that much more enriched for it.

Now, go and watch Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Theater (if that's your thing) so we can talk about how awesome Maggie Smith is as the Dowager Countess, a lady who is the very definition of being comfortable in your own skin, even if that skin is extremely judgmental and outspoken.

19 comments:

Mandee said...

I needed this today. Thanks for writing it and for being Hailey- gorgeous, stylish, funny, interesting, confident Hailey.

AzĂșcar said...

Did you wait until you were married so your husband could tell you what your opinions would be? I hope so.

Hailey said...

Why yes, Carina, of course. And it's a good thing I got him when I did! I almost had to settle for some Italian who wasn't too picky!

Kacy said...

Thank you for mentioning my two favorite and best skills. You get me. (And you are being totally modest about what "being Hailey" really entails.)

Lisa said...

Ditto what Kacy said. You get me. And you are really good at a lot of things including, but not limited to: Planning a season/series finale party (Bachelor, Lost, etc), Understanding and articulating what to buy in what color online or in Target, and what it is I'm feeling like for lunch. These are gifts. Oh yeah, and the other "talents" like singing, acting, being funny, improvising, mothering, and laughing.

Heidi said...

Confession: when I was engaged, I didn't wear some of my favorite clothes or shoes because he didn't like them. It took me about three years after he dumped me to realize that it's totally fine that I like colored shoes, patterned tights, ethnic-looking shirts, and plaid. And now? I'm not afraid.

Thank you for reminding me that it's good to be unafraid to be me. You are awesome. :)

Mindy Gledhill said...

Wonderful post Hailey! I want to go get that book now. I've never liked scrapbooking either :-)

Amy said...

Great post, Hailey! There's something about being in your mid-30s. Suddenly, you don't care what anyone thinks anymore. Maybe it's because you spend your day cleaning up various bodily fluids. Maybe it's because you know that really pretty, popular girl from high school is probably doing the same thing. Or is paying someone to do it for her. Either way, you hate her. I think you're amazing. Mostly, I just can't get past your jaw-dropping beauty. For reals. And my goals for happiness this month: reduce my sodium and study my scriptures. In that order.

Julie said...

Hey, you are super good at running around the dressing room in pin curls with tights about your ankles. And for this I love you.
Great post!

Annette said...

Great post! So...Gale or Peeta? And who should play Katniss??

Hailey said...

You are all so kind. Thanks for being the most awesome!

Annette, Peeta all the way. And I'm still unsure about Katniss, as I'm less familiar with teeny bopper actors, BUT I saw someone mention Robert Downey Jr. for Haymitch and I think that is too perfect!

MamaQ said...

i sometimes want to be hailey... but that wasn't the point of the post, was it?

erin said...

I'm missing sytycd! can't watch it here...haven't figured out how yet anyway.
Oh, and I admire your talents :)

Michelle Catherine Walker said...

It's so true, Hailey! I aim to feel good in my skin, too. Let's get some French food while all the other good moms do good mom stuff! Next week? When it's not such a frozen tundra. I'll come out your way.

Justin Hackworth said...

I'm going to just go ahead and admit, then, that I love eating at Arbys.

Beeswax said...

Arbys is good. That is true. And I enjoy the real Hailey, too bad we don't live in the same place so we could not run in marathons together.

And I can't decide if I am thrilled or irate about the end of Downton Abbey. I mean, I'm glad they are making another season, but seriously, now we have to wait a year to see it.

I mean, what do they want me to do in the meantime? Scrapbook?

Hailey said...

Justin, this is a safe place.

Kelly, I know! How could the British be so cruel? Don't they know that I hang on every word that comes out of Maggie's mouth and drool over every dress that they wear to dinner?

Hannah S said...

This is a good lesson to learn! I always seem to be in the process of it. And hello, 17 comments? (okay, some are yours) You obviously have skills for finding (and keeping) friends. And besides, who doesn't envy actors, one of the biggest fears in life, to speak in front of an audience, and you dominate!
BTW, I can't run more than 3 miles either.
I, too, am discovering. I'll have to check out that book.

Jenni said...

Love this post Hailey...it's exactly how everyone feels but not many admit. You are so super amazingly talented and I adore you just the way you are!!! Stop moving so far away...wish we lived closer!!