Archive | 11:35 PM

Happiness Project Update 7: Enjoying The Now, Enjoying The Later Much Better, and Ripley

21 Jul

In truth this part of my Happiness Project hasn’t been very happy. It’s been frustrating. There’s just not enough time during the day, every day, in my motherhood existence to carve out a 90-minute interval to work on my novel. If I had a maid, a chef, a personal assistant, and some sort of genuine support to help me raise two kids in a less stressful way I might have a couple of extra hours.

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But realistically that’s not gonna happen. I’d have a better chance if I lived on some random planet where a 26-hour day exists. So until then I’ll have to take the  small crappy increments of writing time I can get. A lonely 45 minute or hour-long session is better than nothing. So I kept chugging along. I may not make quick progress, but I’ll make progress eventually.

I’ve mentioned this before and for some reason I feel the person who said this knew me … maybe they’re hiding in my closet.

“The elevator to success is broken, you’re going to have to take the stairs.”

In any case I was feeling pretty down about the whole lack of reaching my daily goal of 90 minutes of fiction writing. And then I read the last section in Rubin’s work/career chapter. “Enjoy Now” she says. In this section she talks about the “arrival fallacy”. The times when people say I’ll be happy when X happens, or I’ll be happy when I reach X goal. In other words when you arrive to a certain destination on your career path you’ll be happy or happier.

Rubin states that the arrival rarely makes you happy because you anticipate it. Apparently arriving at that point brings you more work and responsibility. Once you get to your goal, another one, a more challenging one surfaces. So she talks about “enjoying the now.”

I get it.  I get that some people are just jackasses and don’t truly enjoy what they have once they get there. Their ideas are running amok and their ambition sometimes gets the best of them, so they forget to enjoy it. This would not happen to me. I come from a dysfunctional Latino family and these people keep you in check. There is no threat of getting a big head or a crazy out-of-control ambition. My family will definitely see to that. Enjoying the now is not really a problem for me. I’d enjoy the later much better. The later being finally published. However some writers even have a problem with that.

With writers sometimes they fear what critics would say and anxiety kicks in, so they don’t enjoy the fact that their publishing goals have been reached. But again, seeing how I live in a dysfunctional Latino family, criticism was a constant in my upbringing. So the fact that strangers would be doing it, wouldn’t effect my happiness factor at all.

I agree with Rubin about enjoying the now, I’m all for that. I’m working on that every day. As I finish a blog post and hit that publish button. I enjoy that. I enjoy that satisfaction of finishing my post-a-day challenge and having it be genuine and coming straight from The Guat, no matter the topic. If I’m feeling it. I’m feeling it. But I agree to disagree on her idea of the “arrival fallacy”. For some people yes, that doesn’t work. For The Guat enjoying the later will definitely be awesome, because I’ve never been there.

And it’s funny, as I was thinking about this happiness project post this week I watched something on the USA Network. I know what you’re thinking, when haven’t you, right?

Anyway, I saw Sigourney Weaver‘s new show, Political Animals. Her character sort of reminds me of Hilary Rodham Clinton. But that’s not why I watched it. I had no idea that it would loosely be based on Hilary. I checked it out, because Weaver was coming out in it. You know Ripley. I love Ripley.

Anyhow, she said something that sort of applied to me, my life path, my career path, my Happiness Project path. A reporter tells Weaver’s character how much she admires her resolve, but how does she do it? And Weaver responds:

“Most of life is hell, it’s filled with failure and loss, people disappoint you, dreams don’t work out, hearts get broken, innocent journalists die, and the best moments in life, when everything comes together, are few and fleeting, but you’ll never get to the next great moment if you don’t keep going. So that’s what I do. I keep going.”

Ripley is badass. I’m gonna have to take her advice and keep going.