I hadn’t been to the library in over a year (Mike and I have had plenty to read thanks to Paperback Swap) but the other day for no reason in particular, I walked in. Our library is pretty awesome… especially if you’re interested in Filipino DVDs (fun fact – this city has the highest concentration of Filipino-Americans of any municipality in the US). ANYWAY… I walked in, browsed around a little bit, and saw this on the shelves:
Normally I avoid self-help type books, and I kind of think the “doing XYZ in a year” has been done plenty of times before (The Year of Living Biblicallyand Julie and Juliaare two that come to mind). I read the first few pages of Eat, Pray, Loveand immediately decided it was way too self-indulgent for my taste, so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book.
I skimmed a few pages and ended up checking it out, and I’ve actually really enjoyed it! I appreciate that the author doesn’t take herself too seriously, is able to recognize her flaws, and doesn’t do anything too unrealistic. At the outset, she acknowledges that she’s not unhappy, she just wants to see if she can make herself a little bit happier, and tries various things based on her research. Some of them work, and seem like things that I would definitely do (like getting rid of clutter and finding more fun); others don’t interest me (like keeping a gratitude journal or starting a collection). But I think the thing that really stuck with me most was the concept she kept coming back to: “Be Gretchen.”
I’ve definitely noticed that the periods in my life that I was the least happy were when I was trying to be somebody else. I will never be interested in interior decorating, and that’s fine. I’d rather throw a bunch of stuff in a pan and end up with blondies than spend hours decorating sugar cookies with royal icing. I’d rather run for miles than go to Zumba.
I know it seems really obvious, but I found it really helpful to be reminded “we can chose what we do, but we can’t choose what we like to do.”
I like putting things in blondies. Like M & Ms and pretzels, or in this case, cranberries, white chocolate chips, and toasted pecans.
(adapted from Simply Recipes)