So like most people I grew up with, I'm a fan of "The Simpsons." I stopped keeping up with it when I went to college, but I'm still known to watch a quick episode at 6 p.m. on the CW while I make dinner. Unfortunately, it's mostly the same episodes I grew up with, but in another way, it's really comforting too.
I love how the show has great lines that I'll always remember, but can't remember what the actual episode is about because they go all over the place. The first five minutes usually have nothing to do with the rest of the plot, but that's one of the characteristics that makes the show what it is.
I've had a favorite line stuck in my head for the past month. Sadly, I'm paraphrasing because the internet is letting me down with finding the exact quote. But Bart/Lisa says "There's nothing you can say that would upset us, we're part of the MTV generation. We feel neither highs nor lows." Homer asks, "Really? What's it like?" and Lisa answers, "ehh."
So tongue and cheek, and yet true to life. I feel like my generation, and the younger generations, are so dulled that we don't have genuine emotional responses, or if we do, they're so shallow. As I've stated in an early blog post, I feel like with age I've crossed a threshold for that, but in general, it makes me sad. People can be so calloused. Sometimes I just want to shake people and say, "snap out of it, this is real life!"
I read a book this year that was really inspiring called "The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun" by Gretchin Rubin. Basically, she's a woman in her late 30s/early 40s and she realizes she isn't as happy as she should be. She doesn't really try to define happiness because when you're happy, you generally know it. If you were happy and you didn't know it, how could you actually be happy? So her goal was to take time to find what actually makes her happy (a lot of us really don't know), dedicate time to doing things that actually make her happy (versus things that we think SHOULD make us happy), and taking time to live in the moment and appreciate those things that really DO make her happy.
I found the book really inspiring and was almost ready to start my own happiness project (she had a specific goal each month), but I didn't feel like I had the time or was ready to do that. But in the mean time, I've started one task that she did that I've got to say, is really making me happy: a gratitude journal. The idea is to write down three things every day that you are grateful for, and taking time to thank God for those things. I've tried journaling in general on and off over the years, and am always disappointed by my inability to be consistent with the journal. I always think to do it at night when I'm too tired to actually do it. So to get over this hurdle, I've started using my planner book. While this is something I don't look at on the weekend, I'm actually excited to write down my gratitude thoughts for the day, so I think I might remember to do it on the weekend. When I get a day behind, I still take the time to fill it out for the days I've missed, because I still had things to be grateful for on those days. It's been a really exciting enterprise.