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.