Thursday, September 01, 2011

Operation Awesomepants: Inception

It's September!  Hurrah!  AYOOOOGAH!

Prior to Livy's birth, for me this time of year meant optimistic planning and detailed forethought of how I was going to improve the minds and lives of occasionally deserving young people.  Since I left my job for an extended maternity leave and subsequently was laid off, back-to-school time has been difficult around these parts.  I miss teaching less bitterly now that I've made my peace with staying home and the climate for teachers has become increasingly desperate and hostile, and I know that I'm lucky to be able to stay home with our daughter and still live a comfortable and fulfilling life.  I do intend to jump back into the classroom when Olivia's older (shoot, I still write curriculum for fun), but for now September has to mean something else.  And so I've taken my teacherly planning skills and pointed them in the direction of improving the mind and life of one occasionally deserving decreasingly-young person.

Oh, yeah.  It's ME, bitches.

Either you saw it coming, or you should have.

This summer, in addition to gobbling up dystopian young adult literature and horny vampire novels like they were Raisinets, I read Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project twice.  I'd followed her blog of the same name for a while when I was pregnant and teaching and then forgot all about it when I was a harried parent of a newborn.  I rediscovered the blog last year as the book shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.  The blog was born of the book's subject - a year of Rubin's life during which she exhaustively researched theories and practices of happiness and applied them to her own life.  The book is right up my alley: an intelligent and well-researched self-help book minus the New Age business that I'm simultaneously attracted to and repelled by (It's complicated, and it drives SLB nuts.  Go on!  Ask him about the secret caches of tarot cards and woo-woo books he pretends not to find among our intellectually prestigious artifacts!).  The Happiness Project is a smart book about personal development that's filled with hard analytical, rather than dreamily spiritual, wisdom.  It was a great read both times.

In emulation of this book and blog, and in recognition of my autumnal urge to embark on a new project, I give you my own project.  Gretchen Rubin, an accomplished woman with dignity to spare (she clerked for Sandra Day O'Connor, for goodness sake), calls hers The Happiness Project.  I, an accomplished woman with no dignity left to lose nor much inclination to develop much, call mine


That's right.  Go on, bask in it.  It's glorious, no?  The name alone is miraculous.  People talk about putting their big girl or big boy pants to do hard work.  But why would you limit yourself to size and gender when you could just put on your awesomepants?  Am I right?  Of course.  Of course I am.

Rubin broke her happiness project down into monthly themes with corresponding resolutions, and she measured her daily successes of such resolutions (Ben Franklin style!) on a chart.  If it's good enough for her, it's probably way too good for me.  Because old habits die hard and I love buying new school supplies, I created teacher-infused version of her computerized chart.

That's Lee Canter's Record Book Plus.  Plus what, you ask?  Plus MeShow!

Now plus detail shot!

Stop squinting or you'll get crows' feet.  I'll tell you what this says in a minute.  This month's theme is energy, again a copy of Rubin's first month's theme, but a smart one.  Undertaking a project of this size requires stamina, and stamina is born of energy.  So it makes sense to harness and amplify the fuel of the project as the project's first step. 

This month's resolutions, intended to boost, save, and make the best use of energy are:

1.  Go to sleep earlier.
2.  Use energy honestly.
3.  Exercise better.
4.  Plug leaks.
5.  Make the effort.

Cryptic, no?  I'll have more to write about this tomorrow, and I promise to explain the details and context of each resolution.  Until then I hope you'll make the effort to come up with enough jokes about my plugging leaks to choke a horse.  Because, you know, I freaking HATE horses.

Oh, calm yourself.  It was a joke, you stupidly literal horse.

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