Orderliness is Next to Happiness

Sometime in the last two weeks, I asked my husband if we could rearrange the living room section of our living room/library/office. Since we had a three day weekend, I asked if we could work on that task on Sunday. While he cleaned, I started moving books out of bookcases.

From the inner wall, we removed one glass fronted bookcase and put it into the smaller second bedroom. Our tall, handpainted bookcase was moved from that inner wall to the adjacent wall on the other side of the closet door. Now, two tall bookcases are on the wall with the closet. I put back all the books into the painted bookcase and put all the chotchkes I let sit on the shelves onto my project desk for sorting/donating/trashing.

On the wall where the two bookcases used to be, we put the apartment style couch. Above it, we hung the family portrait of Mark’s great grandmama. Opposite the couch, we put the matching chair and ottomon next to the back of my desk. We moved a rocking chair from the bedroom next to the chair with ottomon, leaving the kitty cube between the chairs for a mock table. Now, when you walk into the living room from the hallway, the room looks and feel airer and bigger. Even with my project table now just a table of Stuff, the room looks more organized.

Today, I cleaned out the space in the bedroom where the rocking chair used to be, vacuumed, tidied up my meditating cushions, and organized my yoga supplies. Mark helped me put up a shelf unit that has been sitting on the floor since we moved in around October 2013. I cleaned a few items from my dresser and put them on the shelf. I cleaned up the corner of my dresser and cleaned a new brush I bought recently. I’m trying to refrain myself from spending too much time in the bedroom cleaning things up so I can focus on my project desk. The combination of moving things around freed up space in two rooms and, in the third room, the addition fit in nicely with the existing furniture. I felt proud, energized, and organized. (Now if only I can keep it this way!)

About ten days ago, I borrowed The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin from my town library. It has been languishing on the low trunk next to my desk, which makes me feel guilty. Today I cracked it open and read through the first chapter.

I’m already liking the book. I like that Rubin, who was mostly happy with their life, decided that she could be happier and then set about to do that. It gives me hope that I can do the same, which is quite unlike psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky who says that you have a happiness set point. I’m the type of person who believes that you can make the change if you perform the actions you desire on a regular basis. My experience with getting into a gym routine has shown me that, with the right changes, you can push your into a new, higher happiness set point and stay there. I refuse to admit defeat, Ms. Lyubomirsky! (and this probably has more affect on my happiness level than your deterministic theory).

On a related note, I think the vitamins I have been taking to address some deficiencies are helping. I decided to start thinking about how delicious my meals are and how much nutrients I am getting when I eat. Because I have a tendency to worry, I decided that thinking that the food I eat is nutritious is probably a better way to think about food than worrying about depleted soil conditions and low nutrient vegetables. I can make the decision to buy organic or from local farmers, when available, or I can grow my own. But I simply cannot do anything about the soil conditions in which most food is grown. I don’t know if thinking about the nutrients will help me or not. I am, however, enjoying my food more when I eat it. That’s important, too.

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