I love to read celebrity "advice" books. I don't know why, but I do. Actually I do know why, the power of marketing and media is why. I see it on TV and them I'm like "I have to do it!". Let's call it Oprah syndrome or in Arnold's case "Dr. Oz" syndrome. If he tells me "Dr. Oz said we should..." one more time I'm going throw his neti pot out the window. The media (for me anyways) is just incredibly persuasive. I blame them for the following conversation I had with my two year-old last week.
Me: Elian, I need you to hurry up and get bigger so I have an excuse to go to Harry Potter Theme Park
Elian: Aglwoiejebleliya Buh-Bye. Ciao. See you later!
Me: So we'll be going in like another 8 years? 2018. Harry Potter Bound!
So, yeah, I'm pretty susceptible to the "celebrity advice" industry. Alicia Silverstone has convinced me that it's good to eat less animals and Tim Gunn is responsible for my properly hemmed jeans. And even though I was trying to resist the following due to its dumb title, somehow I ended up checking it out at the library...
I'm not even a huge Molly Ringwald fan or anything. I mean, I haven't even seen 16 candles all the way through which I'm sure is some kind of ethic codes violation against my Gen X status. A few weeks ago though I saw her on Chelsea Handler and Chelsea said "read it." and if you've ever seen Chelsea's show you'd know it was wise that reading the book is the only suggestion I followed.
So I'm sitting there feeling a bit lame reading Molly's book but you know what? I kind of loved it. It was fun and light and not too serious and pretty! And we all know I love the pretty. I wasn't really planning on writing about this book though until she wrote something that I realize I've been thinking about lately.
"In your twenties you worry about whether or not a person likes you. In your thirties you start to think about whether or not you like a person." (Quote probably not exact at all. Sorry Molly!)
I'm just starting my 30s so I'm not sure I can be definitive but I think this isgoing to be quite true! I used to constantly worry about other people's happiness and well-being. While it's not bad to think of others' feelings and want to help people out I used to do this a lot to the detriment of my own well-being. I never really thought about whether I liked a person or a situation. I just worried about whether the other person was happy. This is problematic in a few ways:
1) I would be crushed and stressed out when other people weren't happy and it seems that lots of people are unhappy a lot. In fact some people are professional Eyeores.
2) It justified a lot of bossy behavior on my part.
3) It's a good way to attract crazies. Sad sack whiners are intrinsically attracted to the happiness obsessed.
Over the past few years I've learned to be a little more balanced with my happiness crusade. Or at the very least I'm learning how to apply it to myself. I can't make other people happy and realizing that has been a good, if late-blooming realization. Now that I'm better at letting other people be responsible for their happiness I feel less need to boss them around. See! It's good for everybody! Win-win!
Now that I'm 30 I don't feel obliged to spend time with people just cause they asked me to. I turn down social obligations all the time. I rest when I'm tired! I spend time with my husband and son! And I have more time and energy to care for those whom I'm closest to. Less people=more quality time=less insane me.
I know to some people this kind of stuff comes natural. Arnold for example has absolutely no compunction to even return phone calls let alone to spend time with people when he doesn't want to. He is very, very good at saying no. As for me... I'm getting there... learning that saying no sometimes spreads much more happiness than saying yes.
Except to Molly, now I know, I can't ever say no to Molly.