The pandemic has allowed (and forced) me to really dig deep on what I value, how I want to live and what makes me happy. Last March I borrowed a book from the library called “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, who has since become one of my favourite authors and her podcast “Happier” is my go-to pick me up on long walks, car rides and laundry folding. In “The Happiness Project”, Gretchen outlines her “Secrets to Adulthood”. Her own personal code in which she tries to live by based on her values, what makes her happy and ultimately, what works for her.
So here are my Secrets to Adulthood. I can’t say I am perfect at abiding by them at all times, and I think they will always evolve, but in this moment in time, this is where I am.
1. What works for someone else may not be a good fit for me. What is a good fit for me, may not work for someone else.
From nutrition and exercise regimes, parenting, work schedules and habits, there is not a one size fits all and what I thrive on, is likely someone else’s misery and vice versa.
2. Growth, goal setting and checking items off to-do lists makes me incredibly happy. Status quo is my nemesis.
You know people who stay in the same job, the same way, at the same place for 30+ years? I mean, zero disrespect in saying this, but that is not for me (see #1). I have quickly learned that I need to work towards new goals, have new experiences in my work and push myself in different ways. This brings me a lot (a LOT) of joy and I have learned that there is a lot of science that connects growth to happiness and fulfillment. I used to almost feel embarrassed and hesitant to say that out loud, but now I am firm in my beliefs on this. Setting goals and making them happen is my jam, status quo is not.
3. Expect the best, plan for the worst.
In planning for events, trips with the kids, lessons, programing etc., I aim high but plan for the unexpected and cover my bases for anything/everything that could go unplanned. And when it falls apart anyways, see #9.
So simple but sometimes I need the reminder. Stop and take a long, deep from time to time.
5. Notice the smiles, laughs and skylines.
Particularly during these on/off again lockdowns and moments of great uncertainty, I try to look out for the sparkle in my kids’ eyes when they smile, the giggles in the background and the beautiful skylines out the window or on our daily walks. They bring me into the present and remind me what matters most in my life.
6. Plan for fun. Plan for rest.
Yep. I quite literally put “fun” things on my to-do list to ensure they happen. Sounds ridiculous but I can easily get caught up in work (which I love) that I can easily burn out if I am not careful. By scheduling in fun and rest, I get the benefits of re-charging with the bonus of crossing something off my to-do list. I recognize how ridiculous this may sound to some (I can feel the eye-rolls from here) but this is my list and works for me (feel free to refer to #1 again).
7. The energy I put into something more often than not, comes back to me in some form.
Unless that energy is going into a zoom call where everyone has their camera off, in which case, my energy is getting sucked into a black hole that I will never get back! Who is with me?!
8. Outer Order = Inner Calm
I need to thank Gretchin Rubin for outlining this one. Thanks, Gretch! (We are on a nickname basis at this point). When my house is in order and somewhat pulled together, somehow everything is easier, lighter and less stressful. An organized garage, closet, coming down to a clean kitchen first thing in the morning = less strain, easier access and less stress.
9. Focus on what you CAN control.
Teacher strikes over the years have taught me this hard lesson. I can be upset, stew about something repeatedly but if I have no control the outcome, I do my best to roll with it and focus on what I can control in the situation: my attitude, effort, perspective and energy.
10. A walk outside makes everything better.
It really does. Everything is more manageable post walk.
What are your Secrets to Adulthood? Please comment below and share your thoughts and ideas with our community.