With Thanksgiving just a couple days away, I wanted to share a little about a book I recently read named "The Happiness Project". The book is about the author Gretchen Rubin's year long journey to try to be happier. While she is actually a pretty happy person to begin with, she realizes that "the days are long, but the years are short", and that she was drifting through life instead of living it. While the book can be a little convoluted, and random, I was left pondering the many ways I too could bring more happiness to my life. The one resounding part of the book I most enjoyed was the authors decision "to just be Gretchen". This sounds so simple, but yet it was actually amazingly deep. When we think about "who we are" we often find we try to be someone we are not. The author made me think a lot about the things I truly love to do. This is not always an easy task for us to unearth parts of ourselves that may have been buried over the years. So often we pick things to do that seem practical, or make good gifts, or seem like the right things to be working on, (when in reality they are more like chores). In the Authors case she felt she "should" be in her current intellectual book club (she was after all an author), when in reality her guilty pleasure was reading children's literature. Her "aha" moment was to embrace "just be gretchen", give up her current book club and start her own "kids literature" book club. That alone brought her so much more happiness.
So I sat down and thought long and hard about things that I have done that truly made me happy. One thing the author suggests is to think back to when we were young. So often what we really like to do is also what we liked to do as young girls. While I like to do all sorts of crafts (trying things makes me happy) I realized that I had long been ignoring one that used to bring me happiness. It was my love of creating old fashioned cross stitch samplers. When I had worked on them in my past, people who knew me thought it was a very peculiar craft. Coworkers who saw me stitching at lunch would kind of shrug in a way that made me feel it was very uncool. I loved it however. I loved the challenge of learning new stitches, as well as the quiet detail work. (Maybe I was born in the wrong century). I soon found I couldn't give them away as gifts because no one seemed very interested in them. It seemed wasteful to spend so much time on something for myself that I couldn't wear, and couldn't share, so eventually my cross stitch box got put in the basement.
It wasn't until I read this book and I was forced to write down all the things I really loved to do, that it occurred to me I had let other peoples perceptions influence my hobbies. With that realization I went on www.everythingcrossstitch.com and ordered some holiday themed cross stitch sampler patterns. I plan on making a new seasonal one every month or two, and make them just for myself. Forget giving them as gifts. Now I am sure my Husband and Daughter will scratch their heads when I sit stitching them (especially after one) but thats OK. Seriously just getting online and ordering patterns was invigorating!
Don't worry my blog will still remain a 100% variety of crafts (I love that too). But to those of you who have been ignoring an old, well missed hobby I am encouraging you to rekindle that love. So on that note what do you really love to do? Not what you might be good at, or used to doing, but something you used to love? Cooking, knitting, tennis, reading vampire novels?.........If you haven't been feeling 100% satisfied with your hobbies why not write out all the things you have loved to do in your past...then decide on that list what would make you really smile today...and give it another try!
The Rebel Crafter