interview: Sarah Bryden-Brown
I’ve met so many terrific people through the world of blogging, and one great friend is Sarah Bryden-Brown. Everyone who knows her jokes that if Sarah makes a suggestion about something you should try, or something you’d like, or something that might be helpful to you, you run out and follow that suggestion the next day, no questions asked. She knows a tremendous amount and is extraordinarily generous and creative about helping others.
She has worn many hats, and one of her current excellent adventures is Camp Mighty, where people build happiness by creating a “life list” and connecting with other people to help achieve those goals. To sign up to find out more, go here.
Gretchen: What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
Sarah: That I can make it happen.
Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
Worrying about what other people are doing, thinking, saying in relation to the goals I have chosen. They are going to do, say or think such things, if they choose. It shouldn’t make any difference to my efforts. I wish it wouldn’t.
Is there a happiness quotation that has struck you as particularly insightful?
“The true joy of life is being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one . . . being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown to the scrap heap . . . being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish clod of ailments and grievances.” — George Bernard Shaw
If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost? Or, like a “comfort food,” do you have a comfort activity? (mine is reading children’s books).
If I am feeling blue or need a happiness boost, I dip into The Happiness Project. I’m not kidding! It’s by my bed, always, and I can open any chapter and be comforted by Gretchen’s stories of simple acts that create happiness in a heart beat. [Awww, Sarah, you are so nice! I'm so thrilled to hear that!]
Have you always felt about the same level of happiness, or have you been through a period when you felt exceptionally happy or unhappy – if so, why? If you were unhappy, how did you become happier?
I was relatively happy in my marriage until I discovered that my expectations of happiness in marriage were much lower than what I found to be possible.
Moving to NYC three years ago afforded my husband and me the opportunity to spend whole summers traveling together to counter the 4-5 months he spends working in Australia during the US fall/winter. For three US summers now we’ve spent nearly every day and night together, traveling to lots of different cities across the US and Europe, all the while working and both with and without our kids. We’re 16 years married and we fell in love all over again, three years ago, and I am now never happier than at the beginning of a summer season knowing I have my husband 24/7, and adventure awaits!
Is there some aspect of your home that makes you particularly happy?
Our new rug! It was on my life list to buy a one-of-a-kind rug –- the kind that costs more than you would ever imagine spending on a rug, which means you will keep it forever because it is the rug that cost you more than you ever imagined you would spend. It took us six months to find it but every morning when I see it I feel happy. Very happy.
Yesterday, I was very happy to be on the Today show and the Kathie Lee & Hoda show. I can't bear to watch myself so I haven't seen them, but if you'd like to see the clips, here's the Today show (bonus: photos of my husband and two daughters) and Kathie Lee & Hoda.