Since resigning from the dreadful call center, I’ve taken a peachy new job at a construction company — I’m a savvy do-it-all, go-to person who laminates factsheets and licks envelopes and makes websites.

I used to pull sleepily into the driveway at 3 a.m., so sick of asking “How can I pray for you?” eighty-eight thousand times to ungrateful, irreverent people with selfish desires.

To, “How was work?” the consistent response: “Total hell. So glad to be free.”

Now I have a set schedule, things to do with my hands, errands to run and projects to complete. It’s really so grand to be useful.

Inspired by my change in attitude, I’ve been reading books about happiness. Already a believer in happiness being a choice, I’ve been finding ways to make choices that help me choose to be happy.

Don’t complain — even when it’s warranted. Be what I am. Ignore options that, no matter how enticing to other people, are not right for me (i.e. job choices and life decisions).

And something revolutionary: There’s no evidence that “letting off steam” when angry is healthy. Keeping anger inside and refusing to lash out does NOT make me crazy — it makes me nicer and happier.

I didn’t come to all these conclusions (and many more) completely on my own. Gretchen helped in her Happiness Project. Admittedly, the site looks kind of gimmicky, cluttered with ads and self-praise. She was a New York Times Bestseller, after all. But the book is self-depreciating and honest, giving everyday examples and drawing from both research and life experience.

I’ve even started a half-arsed version of my own Happiness Project. I made a little chart.  I haven’t filled it out at all, but thinking about it has motivated me to call my mom more and read for pleasure.


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