In The Happiness Project, Gretchen talks about giving herself permission not to like certain things she wishes she liked more. For example, she says she wishes she were the kind of person who likes to play chess, go out to hot new restaurants or talk foreign policy, but she's not. For Gretchen, being Gretchen means she needs to accept that she is never going to enjoy those activities and focus on what she does enjoy.
This was hard for me, maybe because I was using Gretchen's list. I kept thinking, it's true I don't like to talk foreign policy but hot new restaurants, I LOVE hot new restaurants. Fortunately, I remembered that this task was not Be Gretchen, it was Be Johanna and then everything began to fall into place.
What are the things that I do, not because I enjoy them, but because I wish I was the kind of person who enjoyed them. I realized the best way to test this was to see if the thing in question made me shudder internally. If it was something that I hated to do but did anyway (with an internal shudder) because I felt like I should, then it went on my list.
|I'm the one checking my phone.|
That being said, it feels vaguely unpatriotic to not like sporting events. "You should go to a Timbers game," people tell me and they are so enthusiastic and certain I will love it, that it's hard to disagree. But the internal shudder tells me that no matter how many sporting events I attend they will never make me happy. Which is one of Gretchen's Secrets of Adulthood--What's fun for other people may not be fun for you. Even though I wish I liked sporting events, I need to Be Johanna and accept that I don't.
What else triggers the Internal Shudder? Foreign films (they feel like the movie equivelent of eating my vegetables), Interpretative Centers (disembodied voices talking about magma and lava flow make me really, really cranky), Anthropological Exhibits (I know, I know, I should care more and I really, truly wish I did) and Arts & Crafts Projects (any time the glitter comes out I get heart palpitations to go along with my internal shudder).
The list could go on, but I won't bore you. Instead I'll confess that the hardest part about making this list is realizing how much I desperately wish I was the kind of person whose perfect day would be a morning Timber's game, followed by a quick trip to an Interpretative Center, a little Arts & Crafts in the afternoon, capped off by the newest, award-winning movie from Holland.
I wish I could be that person but instead I'm Johanna.
Next assignment, forget the Internal Shudder items and focus on the things I like to do.