I must be a product of my generation - at the edge of Millennials - and so I often purchase a book cheaply on Half.com if I know I want to savor it or own it without having to return it to the library soon. There are some books that I can whip through and others I want to come back to time and again. More often than not, I want to feel the book in my hands, turn the pages, and throw it into my bag instead of flip digitally through it. After reading a variety of travel blogs, I stumbled upon (8 years late) Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project.
This book came into my life at precisely the right time. As a planner, her methodology made perfect sense to me, and it was fun to learn what she specified as resolutions in her own life. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately around doing primary research myself from scratch the hard way versus allowing myself to take "shortcuts" and experiencing others' summaries in order to get through more material and advance myself quicker on numerous topics.
In the book, one of her brilliant reflections is on the positivity of embracing a hobby. Having a hobby is quite at odds with other goals, namely: removing clutter! I myself live in a small urban apartment, and so I constantly re-assess every item in my household and if we really need to hang on to it and why. Since I was a small child, I indulged in hobbies. I even had a short-lived perfume sample and postage stamp collection. Currently I collect postcards and magnets, both off-shoots of my travel obsession and also easily stored. While traveling, it's great to be on the "hunt" for which postcard or magnet I will select, and also I love finding, writing, and mailing postcards for other people.
Other collections of others that has inspired me includes: finding different blue plates to assemble as part of a china set, a teacup collection, old cookbooks and cooking magazines, antique keys, buttons, and Wellesley college memorabilia.
This past trip to California, my fiance and I were in a vintage record store out of an old flower shop in Alameda which is in Oakland. My friend and her boyfriend who is an audiophile and previous college DJ encouraged us to make the purchase. Maybe it's my roots in consumer insights, but I love looking out for other people and trying to indulge them in hobbies themselves. As such, Sam and I found ourselves cradling a brand new baby record player and brainstorming a million ways to get it home safely to our pad in Davis Square.
Given Sam's love for music, especially the Grateful Dead, this hobby was especially fitting. We found ourselves the next day in antique stores in Headlsburg, rummaging through hard-to-reach places and comparing the scratches on a pair of James Taylor vinyls. When we got home, we had ordered the necessary pre-amp, speakers, and did our research on which audio shop could best repair a few items on our vintage MCS. Hearing that warm sound of Sugar Magnolia weaving through our air waves at home was a sweet reward to an afternoon of preparation and research. Suddenly those silly record stores around town seemed cool and intriguing, and we spent hours rummaging through Goodwill to find $0.99 albums we were excited to try.
I finished the book, and I am hoping to embark on another one of Gretchen's challenges: writing a novel in 30 days. I highly recommend that you guys revisit this book as it sets up a good structure in which to evaluate your time, your tone, and your togetherness. What do you think?