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happy hangover

Today is full of sunshine and slow motion and big smiles. Today is a good day.

A happy day.

Last night's inaugural Happier Hour was a splendid success. Gretchen Rubin was a phenomenal speaker, the crowd was diverse and delightful, and the conversation was priceless. And my shoes? Those impossibly high and silly bright yellow cagey things? They didn't hurt one bit.

I will be back tomorrow with more delicious deets about the exquisite evening and today's Happiness Hangover and a chance to win an early copy of LIFE AFTER YES (hey, I'm feeling happy and generous!), but I wanted to leave you with a tiny taste of the night. The following are the words I used to welcome sixty-plus (!) wonderful women (and one very hot man) and to introduce the lovely Gretchen.

Thank you all so much for coming tonight for the inaugural Happier Hour. For taking the time to indulge me in this project, this experiment, this dream.

For me, happiness is conversation. The more genuine, layered, open conversation I have in my life, the happier I am. But tonight is not ultimately about me. Nor is about the lovely Gretchen Rubin who will speak in a few moments. It is not even about the wonderful group of women (and one important man!) we have gathered here. It is about something bigger than all of us: Happiness. That thing each of us covets and craves.

Many of us here are smiling tonight. Many of us consider ourselves to be happy creatures. But. Yes, there is always a but - especially if you are an over-thinker like I am. But we can all stand to be happier.

When I dreamed up tonight, I had one person and one person only, in mind to speak and she stands beside me now. Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen's recent book THE HAPPINESS PROJECT has now spent eleven weeks on the bestseller list. Not too shabby, huh?

Bestseller or no, I loved the book for its core message, in many ways the message that unites us tonight. We can all do more to appreciate our days. To honor their goodness. To be happier.

On page two of her book, Gretchen writes:

But though at times I felt dissatisfied, that something was missing, I also never forgot how fortunate I was. When I woke up in the middle of the night, as I often did, I'd walk from one room to another to gaze at my sleeping husband tangled in the sheets and my daughters surrounded by their stuffed animals, all safe. I had everything I could possibly want, yet I was failing to appreciate it. Bogged down in petty complaints and passing crises, weary of struggling with my own nature, I too often failed to comprehend the splendor of what I had. I didn't want to keep taking these days for granted. The words of the writer Colette had haunted me for years: "What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner." I didn't want to look back, at the end of my life or after some great catastrophe, and think, "How happy I used to be then, if only I'd realized it."

These words hit me. And haunt me.

Because this is me. This is all of us. We all have many things to appreciate, to feel happy about. And yet this business and busyness of modern life complicates things that should be simple. This business and busyness of modern life makes it almost impossible to have meaningful conversations about big ideas and universal questions. This business and busyness of modern life makes it hard, so hard, to meet new people, interested and interesting people, who are thinking big and dreaming big and doing good.

And so. Here we are. To talk and toast. To engage and enjoy. To laugh and learn.

And most importantly, to be happier.

Cheers!

____________________________

  • Do you feel like you fail to appreciate your good fortune, the brightness of your days?
  • Do you ever worry that the moments and years will blur by and that you will look back and wish you had realized your happiness more fully?
  • Do you agree that the "business and busyness" of modern life complicates things that should be simple?
  • Have you ever experienced a Happiness Hangover, a day when you can't stop smiling, are a bit slow on the uptake, and have this foolish but fabulous warm and fuzzy fairy-tale-feeling that life is good?

Please leave a comment here between now and 6am EST tomorrow (3/25/10) for a chance to win a copy of THE HAPPINESS PROJECT!

Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks that meaningful conversation enhances happiness. Check out this recent piece from the New York Times entitled Talk Deeply, Be Happy?

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