Before I check back into the world of books (ergo, less time spent on the Internet), allow me to share with you two works of art by my pen pal from Beijing. Her name is April, and she just turned 19! Instead of her getting a birthday present from me, she sent me her works instead. First thing you need to know about me is that I’m unemployed. Nyaha. April said she had just recently picked up a paint brush. Recently? Psh! Oh, come on! Second thing you need to know about me, is that I actually struggle with making art – in general – but I have learnt that I have an appreciation for all things art! Do you think this is ironic? Let’s just say I put a good deal of effort in designing my postcards even though my artistic cousin, who I have also recruited to Postcrossing, usually gets dissatisfied with my work so much that she does it all over again to save my postcards from further damage. :p
On a more serious note, I am trying to re-assess my life and see where I can try my hand at. If I love art but am hopeless to make one, then what am I good at? I picked up Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. I have had it in my shelves for two years but I never bothered to read it because I am not a big non-fiction reader. It contains monthly tips for a happier life. The author’s tips were based on other people’s studies and on her personal experience as a Yale Law School graduate who’s found success (and happiness) in blogging and writing. For the month of March, she focused on the work aspect of life. Her tips for the month for March are as follows:
- Launch a blog – CHECK! I am a fast thinker but not articulate enough to translate my thoughts creatively into writing. I start with a good idea. And then some how I get lost in the middle. And I can’t figure out how to end my posts. Though I am a long way from mastering these writing tasks, writing six to seven days a week, every week sounds like a good idea if I want to see progress in my writing. “Even if I did something wrong on the blog, it wouldn’t be a disaster.”
- Enjoy the fun of failure – I have had my share of failure. And I can tell you, it’s not fun. Enjoying failure does not equate to not taking mistakes seriously. It is about taking risks and being able to move forward. The author wrote it better. “When I thought about why I was sometimes reluctant to push myself, I realized that it was because I was afraid of failure – but in order to have more success, I need to be willing to accept more failure.”
- Ask for help – I am proud to say I am one of those people who think it is okay to ask for help. I don’t pretend to know things I’m clueless about. But I am putting this here for others to benefit.
- Work smart – For the author, this means getting up early and making the workplace look pleasant. Ha! Here’s where I get the GUILTY verdict.
- Enjoy now – When my life does not go my way, I have the tendency to imagine some happy future. If I can have this…, if I can move to this town…, if I can have this person as my husband… this can go on. Getting a scholarship abroad. Learning German. Getting a flexible job. Marrying a rich Christian. Having the perfect destination wedding and month-long honeymoon in Italy. Buying a House. Getting a Baby. Driving the kids to school and being a part-time faculty member at a prestigious university. I need to shut up now before this post leads to me reaching old age and having a proper burial. With this, I’ll end this post with a strong point from the author. “If I can enjoy the present, I don’t need to count on the happiness that is (or isn’t) waiting for me in the future.”
*The ones in quotation marks were directly lifted from the book “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin