Happiness Project brunch, no.4

We ignored Gretchen Rubin this past month, for the most part. Her chapter for April was about parenting. There are a few parents in our group, but we weren't feeling inspired by it. We decided instead to bring something to share that we are passionate about. It spun off from our conversation about careers and working for the man and needing more creativity and such.

Someone brought paintings they've been working on, while another person brought a giant pile of family history and photographs they found in the garage. Others talked about a writer's group they joined and still others shared their difficulty in focusing on just one idea or project to even begin with.

Some people chose not to share or didn't feel they had anything in particular to share. Those that did read the chapter used that moment to bring up the concept of "fog happiness" that Rubin writes about:

[Happiness] surrounds me, I see it everywhere, despite the fact that when I zoom in on any particular moment, it can be hard to identify.

Awareness is always the first step, right? You have to name it before you can do anything else about it. Some friends struggle to name what their passion is, what they would wake up and do every single day if money were no object. There isn't anything particularly wrong with their life, they just can't seem to zoom in and pursue something particular. I don't share that struggle, but since January I have been working on zooming in even more. I've been spending time this year naming and codifying what it is that makes me happy, and what will make me happy when I can get to it. I brought something to share with the brunch group that is still very much in development. It relates to my passions of traveling, writing, photography, and community organizing. If it becomes something worth sharing beyond my living room, you'll read about it here. Send good vibes, will ya? I'm hopeful.

The most significant success of the Happiness Project for me thus far, 1/3 of the way through the year, has been to really understand what Rubin means when she says:

The days are long, but the years are short.

That understanding has started to open doors and shift things for me. It's exactly what needed to happen. The past few months at work have been brutal. March and April are, every single year, overbooked and move at lightening speed. The days may feel long; I come home exhausted, I work 60 hours a week, I let my hobbies and social calendar slide...and yet here we are. We're 1/3 of the way through the year. I'm already starting to wrap up fiscal year end budgets and I'm putting appointments on my spring 2014 calendar. Yes, 2014, you read correctly. Time is marching on whether I come home exhausted or energized. Time will continue to march on whether I'm grinding out 60 hours a week or whether I'm traveling and taking amazing photos. The years are short. I hit my 11 year mark at my institution and something snapped. I asked myself what I wanted to be doing when I turned 40. The reality that the milestone is less than 10 years away sunk in and sunk in hard. I have an excellent job. It's secure. They would be thrilled if I was there for another decade. They have no idea I'm flirting with an exit strategy. But the years are short. I'm starting to spin a number of creative plates and one could spin off into a whole new life or they could all come shattering down tomorrow. I have no guarantees. I only know that what will ultimately make me blindingly happy is not what I'm doing right now.

And...so...anyway...breakfast pizza! I made two different pizzas and while they turned out alright, it was obnoxiously difficult. It seems so simple, but oh no. I purchased pre-made pizza dough, which helped, but I'd also never worked with it before. Anyway, one breakfast pizza was wheat dough, pesto base, grilled asparagus / peppers / red onion / garlic, fontina, romano, mozzarella fresco, with sunny eggs. The other pizza was white dough, maple glaze base, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, green onion, cheddar, and fontina.

...then 10 minutes on a stone at 500-degrees.

This Huffington Post article was my jumping off point, and then I discovered a lot of different blogs and recipes from this original post.

Beehive Bazaar. So. Many. Crafts.

Photo Series: Southern California