The Happiness Project

A chronicle of my attempts to test-drive every tip, principle and scientific study that promotes happiness

One Thing I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

I have odd patches of memory.

Last week, as part of my book tour, I visited San Francisco. I had a free afternoon, so I walked from my hotel to my old apartment (pictured), where I lived for about a year before I went to law school.

As I walked there, I tried to remember the details of my life in San Francisco. I have no recollection whatsoever of going to a grocery store, or a restaurant, or a book store.

I have odd patches of memory. The big hill I had to climb on my running route, and the bagel store I went to every morning, and a long walk that I took with my roommate one day, and the salads we loved so much that we would go to Berkeley to get them.

One of my more poignant Secrets of Adulthood is: Never forget how easy it is to forget.

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I wish I could tell my younger self: Make a photo diary before you leave this place! You think you won’t forget, but you will! Instead of taking photos of unusual sights, take a photo of the most usual sights. In the future, you’ll be a lot more interested in seeing a photo of your dorm-room closet or your laundromat than seeing a photo of the Louvre.

How about you? Do you ever wish you had photos from ordinary days in the past? This reminds me of when I decided to take tourist photos of my own romance.

Also ...

  • I got a big kick out of this list of the 100 tops movie taglines. Number 1: "In space no one can hear you scream." Know the movie? Alien.

  • Would you like to get a signed, personalized, free bookplate for a copy of Happier at Home or The Happiness Project, to make a gift more personal? (Or would you like one for yourself?) Email me to request them: just be sure to include your mailing address and people's names. I'll mail anywhere, and ask for as many as you like. But PLEASE request them soon, if this is for a holiday gift; fact is, I can be pretty slow. Don't know what I'm talking about? Look here.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project, a book and a blog about her adventures learning to be happier.

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