I'm on vacation, so I'm not posting this week, but I realized with a start that I started my blog five years ago, today. I remember so well writing that first post, and the terror of hitting the button to "publish."
In The Happiness Project, I set out to test-drive the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. I kept reading research that showed that novelty and challenge make people happier, so I wanted to test that idea by doing something novel and challenging. I decided to start a blog — a prospect that intimidated me enormously.
Everything about it seemed hard. I wasn't tech-y. I didn't read blogs. I liked to write long (80,000 words) not short (500 words). I didn't want to feel exposed. I didn't want to have to complete a piece every day. I didn't want to feel chained to my desktop (when I work on a book, I write on my laptop in a library or a coffee shop).
Plus, I didn't think that novelty and challenge would make me happy. I eat the same food every day, I don't much like to travel, I spend all my work and leisure time doing the same few activities; I thought that familiarity and mastery made me happy — but because of the concept of the book, I had to give novelty and challenge a try.
And guess what? My blog has become a huge engine of happiness for me. Of course, happiness doesn't always make me feel happy, and my blog, to this day, makes me feel frustrated, dumb, angry, and overwhelmed. But step by step, I've figured out how to add the bells and whistles, which has given me the atmosphere of growth so important to happiness.
But even more, the chance to engage with readers has boosted my happiness immensely. The chance to exchange ideas, to hear other people's perspectives, to get pointed to great new resources, and most of all, to have a sense of connection to so many people who are interested in this subject — I'm constantly struck by how much it adds to the richness of my day.
I fully expected to give my blog a good honest try, and then to abandon it, just as I did my gratitude journal. But my blog changed my life.
Thank you, readers. You've made me very happy.