In her book “The Happiness Project”, author Gretchen Rubin spent May focused on “Be Serious About Play: Leisure”, which was another interesting topic for me, after I tried to “Lighten Up” last month!

Her goals:

  • Find more fun
  • Take time to be silly
  • Go off the path
  • Start a collection
Okay, these ones are going to be tough!
Finding more fun: 
Yes, I should definitely make time for fun. But I also don’t think that I need to conform to what other people consider fun to be. Believe it or not, I am usually having “fun” when together with small groups of friends, family, or coworkers although I’m usually not drinking alcohol. Seriously. I may not be dancing on the table or doing shots off…well, I won’t tell that story…but you don’t need to worry if I’m having fun, because I am. 
To me, organized sports are not fun. Watching them isn’t much better, unless it’s the Habs and especially if it’s playoffs. Watching my own offspring pick daisies in the soccer field is no more or less painful than seeing professionals in action. 
Gretchen writes that for her, something fun would pass the following test: “I looked forward to it; I found it energizing, not draining; and I didn’t feel guilty about it later.”
“Fun” for me is leisure time (movies, hot baths, restaurant dinners, reading great books and magazines) as well as celebrity-related pursuits: going behind the scenes at TV shows, attending to the Toronto International Film Festival, etc. “Fun” is helping my daughters organize their toys; it is NOT playing with said daughters and toys. Organizing pretty much anything is actually fun for me, as I have shared in my Twitter bio.
While I am confident in the things I like to do for “Kate fun”, I also need to remember that others may define fun differently, and sometimes to contribute to their happiness, I need to get outside my comfort zone: attend a large social function with strangers, participate in something athletic, or (the horror) spend time outside when it’s less than 25 degrees Celsius. 
Take time to be silly:
I’m not sure that anyone in real life has ever referred to me as “silly”. Perhaps in the context of “you’re worrying too much about that, don’t be silly”, but definitely not in the goofy, entertaining kind of way. OH! But I do a great Irish accent, which I pull out at St. Patrick’s Day when reading themed books to my children at home and at school. Does that count? Okay, I’ll work on it.
Go off the path:
I am willing to venture off the path when it comes to learning/trying new things related to my career(s), but there are many areas where I am stuck in a rut. Meals, for example, since I’m such a picky eater. Music too – pop and country are my standbys. I branch out in terms of authors, but stick closely to suspense, chick lit and nonfiction (self-help style and celeb bios). These are all areas where I can expand my horizons, and I’m sure it would be good for me…but would it lead to more happiness? I suppose I could discover something new that I never thought I would love…but I could also feel pressure to trudge through a book I don’t like, or music I don’t enjoy. As far as the food preferences go…I may have some very interesting and exciting news to share on that front in the future, but I’ll leave you hanging for now.
Start a collection:
Do shoes count?
When I was young, I love to cut out clippings of my favourite stars and keep albums, but these days I don’t think I could handle the overwhelming availability of information and products. Because of the web, you could never possibly have every photo or clipping about someone (not that my interests still lie in that sort of collection) but I wouldn’t want to start amassing items that can be found in abundance on eBay. There’s no thrill of the hunt and excitement in the find. Maybe I should collect something a little more rare…diamonds perhaps?
I’m too much of a clutterphobe to collect anything knickknacky, and I’m not very sentimental about objects at all, but I see Rubin’s point that a collection “provides a mission,  a reason to visit new places, the excitement of the chase, a field of expertise (no matter how trivial), and, often, a bond with other people.”
My question for you today, dear readers, is: what do you collect? Do you get happiness from your collection? Okay, fine, that’s two questions, but they’re not long. I’d love to read your answers, and just for “fun”, I’ll choose one commenter to win a $10 gift card for Tim Horton’s! Share your “collection” by May 16th for your chance to win, and make sure you leave a way for me to contact you!

6 comments on “The Happiness Project: May (P.S. If Tim’s makes you happy, read this!)”

  1. Collection…I have attempted to collect exercise equipment. They make really great coversation pieces and clothing drying racks.

    I was amassing a pretty decent footwear collection. A silly foot problem (directly stemming from wearing said pretty footwear)has ceased that collection for the time being, but I hold out hope that I can return to something I am finding I do very much enjoy collecting.

    Does collecting children count? I love the days that I can spend with my own children just playing and being fun mommy. One day recently I picked up three of my nephews, ended up at my cousin's with his two children then called my sister and got her to bring her two boys over. With life being so busy the past few years, I've really missed spending time and getting to know my sweet little (and big) nephews (and nieces, although they are not so abundant). I think this was the best collection I've managed to date. Not sure I'll have any luck adding more to it, but it seems pretty perfect as is.

  2. I have started to collect a shot glass from everywhere I travel to… so it's a very small collection :))

    It does make me happy – I quite enjoy seeing them and being reminded of the trip and the good memories from that time.

  3. hmm, does mud count because I seem to collect a lot of that in my house lately!
    I also like shoes and have a pretty good collection, especially black ones – which I have been told are boring but I think they're safe.

  4. Do you remember this song: "I Collect Rocks"

    I love the line "I collect rocks — I gain weight everytime I take a walk."

    Well — I do collect rocks. Specifically tiny little rocks from different places that I've been. I also have some sand from some special beaches I've been to.

  5. I love to travel and try to collect a christmas tree ornament from the places I visit. However, when I told my husband to bring me back an ornament from a recent business trip to Texas, he must have misheard me because instead I got two 'classy' shot glasses, one that says "Don't mess with Texas" and the other that's in the shape of a gun. They are fun conversation pieces but I think I will stick to my ornaments in the future!! You can contact me through twitter: @bellalli

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