Happiness Project Update 14: The Lemon Squeezer

4 Oct

Finding fun. I never thought this concept was complicated. In fact I found it quite simple, but after reading Gretchen Rubin‘s chapter “Be Serious About Play,” I realized I could squeeze in a little more.

Reading this chapter made me reflect on my progress and lack of progress in my own Happiness Project. Am I happier now, than when I started? Well yes and no. I’m not world traveling, rock climbing, bungy jumping or kayaking rapids every weekend, but I’m still finding ways to get through the daily part of life with more fun and less mid-life malaise.

Image via Happiness-Project.com

This whole project was set up to make a change, not a drastic one that never gets follow-up, but a bunch of little changes that add up and make a difference. I needed to flip a switch on a daily basis in order to squeeze every drop of lemon juice from the lemons life left for me. I’d become a squeezer, a Bed, Bath & Beyond Lemon Squeezer.

During all this juice extraction I realized, just as Rubin had written in her chapter “Be Serious About Play,” that you can’t have happiness without fun. Mind blowing concept, I know. So it tripped me out when she mentioned the “sadness of a happiness project.”

Sadness in happiness? What the hell is that? I got plenty of sadness in sadness, it doesn’t need to be creeping up on my happiness project.

But I found that it was a common realization. Apparently, it’s an understanding that there are a lot of things you wish you could do in life, because they sound so interesting and exciting. But then you know that you won’t do them because they’re not really fun for you. A couple of Rubin’s readers had some of the best responses to this awareness. She wrote:

“I will never be an F-1 racer. I will never be a supermodel. I will never know what it’s like to fight in a war. To be a dancer on a cruise ship. To be a dealer in Las Vegas.

“Not because they are entirely impossible to achieve. But because I can’t dance (I tried). I can’t take G forces (I can’t even ride a roller coaster). I am not tall or pretty enough. I hate physics and maths, so I can’t be an astronaut.

“This is less about whether I CAN actually do any of those things, but more about whether I’d actually want to do them. Or to be dedicated enough to work towards them. I will never be that person.”


I had to take a minute on that one. I highlighted it. This was so true. I realized that although I wasn’t the kind of person to go out and do things I didn’t want to do, or do them and pretend I enjoyed them just for the sake of impressing a group or a person, there were still some things that I found fun that I may not have openly admitted or pursued because I didn’t think there were kindred spirits out there to join me.

But Rubin challenged me to try to “Find More Fun.” I thought get on it, because apparently having fun is an essential component to a happier life.

So what did I find fun? What made my list? Now considering that I don’t have the Oprah bank account to travel and explore new cities and do adventurous stuff like rock climbing, bungy jumping, and kayaking rapids my list would have to be more realistic and narrowed down a bit to fun on a budget. When the cash flow increases then perhaps I’d be off … traveling. But for now, the lemon squeezer finds more fun in the day-to-day, so that my happiness can increase.

So what’s fun?

Since I’m here in the blogging world, you probably guessed that writing and blogging is something I find fun. You’re right. I do. I get a kick out of putting my stories out there and hearing that other people enjoyed them, or that other people could relate.

I think watching college football is fun. I love hanging out. I love tailgating. I have fun cheering on my team and high-fiving friends and complete strangers when my team scores a touchdown. I have fun saying woo-hoo when this happens. I love saying woo-hoo to myself when I’m watching from my couch on Saturday mornings. I’m all about woo-hoos.

I think watching movies is fun. Mobster movies, 80s movies, psychological thriller movies, and of course comedies. I can buy a ticket “for one” and not feel self-conscious at all that I’m hanging out by myself at the local AMC. But I’m also very grateful for cable and Netflix. They help continue this movie fun quest on a budget.

Board games. I think board games are fun. I remember when I was younger getting a huge thrill out of playing Hungry Hungry Hippo, Trouble, Sorry, Monopoly, and Operation. My friends and sister would play for hours and we’d have so much fun. Lite Brite rocked my world too. So in effort to continue this I opened up a board game they gave my four-year old son and we had a blast. I decided I needed to make a trip to Target so that he could get the Hungry-Hungry-Hippo experience. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Sports. I think sports are fun. Playing sports or running in triathlons really does it for me. I enjoyed playing sports so much growing up that I decided to do the triathlon thing, it brings me the same woo-hoo-cart-wheel type of feelings as it did when I was a skinny teenager.

Seinfeld. I think Seinfeld is fun. I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld, probably twice, maybe even three times. I love cracking up and he does it for me. I’ve even checked out his new project Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I think laughing is fun, so I check to see what he’s doing.

And last but not least, dancing. I love dancing. I think it’s fun to get my groove on. Now that I’m older I’m not into the whole club dance scene, but I listen to  music every day and I bust a move at home. But I gotta be careful when I’m jamming in my socks, the wooden floor is not soft when I slip and fall because I’m totally into my Solid Gold Dancer mode.

This is the Guat kind of fun and as a lemon squeezer, I’m gonna do my best to keep it up.





17 Responses to “Happiness Project Update 14: The Lemon Squeezer”

  1. annablakeblog October 5, 2012 at 3:14 AM #

    That simple, woohoo fun sounds like freedom to me. Sadness=freedom=happiness.

    • The Guat October 5, 2012 at 1:18 PM #

      Woo-hoos are so awesome. Thanks for stopping by and checking things out.

  2. adinparadised October 5, 2012 at 7:19 AM #

    Great to know that you have so many fun things in your life, TG. 🙂 Have a great weekend.

    • The Guat October 5, 2012 at 9:54 AM #

      I try … this is my fun on a budget, but once that cash starts rolling in I’m sure I’ll do some of the same things, only it’d be in different states or cities. Plus some Great Outdoors stuff. But until then I live vicariously through your travels so keep those pictures coming 🙂

  3. susielindau October 5, 2012 at 7:28 AM #

    This is so great Guat!
    I love this idea and am going to squeeze some more fun into my life!

    • The Guat October 5, 2012 at 12:46 PM #

      Thanks! I thought it was a pretty sweet idea when I saw it in Rubin’s book. She had different ideas of fun of course, but the concept of finding fun was the same. I bet you can totally squeeze all kinds of fun out seeing how Fall and Halloween are coming up. I squeezed plenty of fun from your blog party … I discovered the Good Greatsby. You mentioned him in one of your comments so I went mingling. Too funny.

      • susielindau October 5, 2012 at 1:03 PM #

        That’s so great! Good Greatsby has a very fun blog!

  4. IowaTriBob October 5, 2012 at 9:53 AM #

    Very well said and I think a good reminder for all of us to find some more fun in the simple things we do or can be doing.

    • The Guat October 5, 2012 at 11:08 PM #

      Thanks. It’s hard to keep the day-to-day fun with all the chores, errands and drama that surrounds us all but I’m a dedicated lemon squeezer. 🙂

  5. lameadventures October 5, 2012 at 12:44 PM #

    Possibly your ultimate pursuit of happiness would be to go river rafting to a chocolate factory.

    • The Guat October 5, 2012 at 12:56 PM #

      Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude. Totally. I knew you knew me. If Willy Wonka were here it’d be on …

  6. lameadventures October 5, 2012 at 1:07 PM #

    I might have a hole in my head that rivals the size of the sky but I am capable of retaining the key facts about you.

    • The Guat October 5, 2012 at 1:11 PM #

      Dude. You crack me up. I swear if you did stand-up comedy I would so be in the front seat.

      • lameadventures October 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM #

        And I would be standing in front of you frozen stiff, crazy eyed and mumbling humina, humina humina …


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