The Happiness Project

I know I haven’t written in a while. It’s a combination of several factors, starting with the current busyness that is my job as well as the continuous train of thought that keeps plaguing me – about what should I really be doing with my life. A quote I recently read on twitter keeps haunting (or more likely, taunting) me: “a year from now, you would have wished that you started today”. That feels so true to me yet it also makes me squirm. Just what is it that I would have wanted to have done in one year’s time?

Today in the bookstore (one of the perks of my job is that our office is in a major shopping mall – I try to grab what I can in life :)) I saw an interesting book, The Happiness Project written by Gretchen Rubin. Closer inspection and a google search later informed me that she was a mother who suddenly had an epiphany that life would be wasted without properly pursuing happiness. And that happiness, she realized, was already within her grasp and all around her – her daughter, family and even in her house (which she has swiftly followed-up and written about in her recent book, Happiness At Home (I don’t blame her).

Which inspires me to think, is this something I secretly wish I could do? And is this something I can actually do? I have been feeling hapless and out-of-control regarding my day situation, what with the long hours, demands of constant connectivity, and my barely-there role as a functioning mother, wife, daughter, friend and investment executive. I would really love to seize control of my time and spend it on things I usually can’t find the time to do – and really should – from being able to read a story to my son before he goes to sleep to having actual time and energy to sort out the closet. Gretchen took one year of her life to sort out the different aspects and facets of life. I suddenly really envy her.

The thing is, we working mothers have this constant dilemma – we want to be good mothers but at the same time we are cognizant of the fact that we should maintain a career in order to be independent of our husbands and still be able to provide for the family should any of the unthinkable happen. We also don’t want to waste our skills and education by being a full stay at home mom (although I know plenty of SAHMs who do just fine exercising their knowledge through the home and family by applying their skills and continuing to do research and reading up on various issues). For someone who’s right-brain and extroverted like me, I also love socializing with colleagues and friends – a career spent at home, I have heard multiple times, may lead me to loneliness due to the lack of grown-up company and even worse, bring about depression.

So what’s a girl to do? Well, same as I have always done – continue to think hard, talk to people, brainstorm and pray for guidance about this situation. In time, I’m sure I’ll figure it out – with a little help from family and friends. And my Happiness Project.

Categories: Career woman, Musings

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