When I signed on to participate in a happiness “Boot Camp,” Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, suggested (based on my answers to a questionnaire and an interview) that I focus on two resolutions and one challenge; armed with a video camera, courtesy of The Katie Show, on which I was asked to share my adventure, I jumped on the first resolution — looking at my many possessions with an eye toward keeping the meaningful and eliminating the rest — with the enthusiasm of a woman attending a Michael Kors warehouse sale.
The second resolution – reconnecting with my high school sweetheart husband Michael now that our youngest is off to college – was fun. Gretchen set up “tasks” designed to help bring Michael and me closer as a couple after our 20-plus years of living as a family of four in what I consider “fire drill” mode.
… ”kiss in the morning, kiss at night.” Michael gets up before the chickens and I go to bed well after they’ve gone to roost, so this wasn’t as easy as it sounds. But we worked the program. I rolled out of bed with morning breath and bed head, and my husband, champ that he is, gallantly hugged me and kissed me goodbye. And in the evenings? We kissed sweetly before he went to bed.
… “make an active effort to pay attention when your husband talks to you.” Have you tried to pay 100% attention to someone after years of listening to two kids, two cats and one husband? All talking at once? I am so used to anticipating the interruption – even now in a mostly empty-but-for-the-two-of-us home – that I frequently miss the first half of what Michael says. And him? I don’t know what his excuse is, but Michael constantly asks me, “What?” before I’ve even completed my first sentence. Suffice to say that this resolution is going to take more than two weeks to perfect.
…”plan an adventure.” We made plans to visit a N.J. winery, but when I hurt my back we put that plan on ice. At least until I can sit upright in the car long enough for us to drive there! But we will do it. And likely have a load of fun.
Are you an empty nester? Do you want to reconnect with your spouse in a more meaningful way? Check out some more of Gretchen’s suggestions in her book The Happiness Project. Then come back and let me know how you did!
P.S. The Katie Show segment I taped with two other happiness “Boot Camp” recruits on October 11 has not aired; however, the show that day did focus on happiness, including Gretchen Rubin’s new book.