Balanced Life: The Things That Go Wrong Often Make the Best Memories

Here are my latest Secrets of Adulthood. Although these items may not seem particularly profound, each one was a revelation when I finally figured it out.
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What have I learned, with time and experience? Not much, I fear. Here are my latest Secrets of Adulthood. Although these items may not seem particularly profound, each one was a revelation when I finally figured it out:

  • The things that go wrong often make the best memories.
  • If you don't really want something, getting it won't make you happy.
  • It's enormously helpful, and surprisingly difficult, to grasp the obvious.
  • The quickest way to progress from A to B is NOT to work the hardest.
  • Go outside.
  • It's easier to prevent pain than to squelch it. (This is true literally and figuratively).
  • Where you start makes a big difference in where you end up.
  • Remember to choose your boss carefully.
  • There's no place like home.
  • Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. (Actually, Voltaire came up with that one, not me).
  • Approval from the people you admire is sweet, but it's not enough to be the foundation of a happy life.

Here are my previously identified Secrets of Adulthood:

  • The best reading is re-reading.
  • Outer order contributes to inner calm.
  • The opposite of a great truth is also true.
  • You manage what you measure.
  • It's nice to have plenty of money.
  • By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
  • People don't notice your mistakes and flaws as much as you think.
  • Most decisions don't require extensive research.
  • Try not to let yourself get too hungry.
  • Even if you think they're fake, it's nice to celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day.
  • If you can't find something, clean up.
  • Turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes a glitch.
  • It's okay to ask for help.
  • Happiness doesn't always make you feel happy.
  • What you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE.
  • You don't have to be good at everything.
  • Soap and water removes most stains.
  • It's important to be nice to EVERYONE.
  • You know as much as most people.
  • People actually prefer that you buy wedding gifts off their registry.
  • Houseplants and photo albums are a lot of trouble.
  • If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.
  • No deposit, no return.

I've modified one Secret of Adulthood to replace "Someplace, keep an empty shelf" with "Someplace, keep an empty shelf; someplace, keep a junk drawer."

One of my favorite things to do on the Happiness Project Toolbox (okay, my favorite thing) is to see what other people are saying. A few of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood from other people include:

  • Some things are worth waiting for, some things are not.
  • It's okay to like watching cartoons (even if you are 36).
  • A job where someone pays you to do nothing is not awesome, it's boring.
  • Maturity doesn't mean acting serious all the time.
  • If you buy an item that has a part that will frequently need to be replaced, go ahead and buy a replacement at the same time.
  • When someone is mourning a loss, don't worry about saying the right thing. Just say something.
  • You need old friends and new friends.
  • Seek mentors for more than your career.
  • It is what it is.

I'm tempted to keep going. but will force myself to stop here. How about you? Have you identified a helpful Secret of Adulthood?

* I love getting the chance to see other bloggers face to face, so am very happy to be meeting Emily from TheMotherHood this afternoon.

* It's Word-of-Mouth Day, when I gently encourage (or, you might think, pester) you to spread the word about the Happiness Project. You might:

-- Forward the link to someone you think would be interested

-- Link to a post on Twitter (follow me @gretchenrubin)

-- Sign up for my free monthly newsletter (about 46,000 people get it)

-- Put a link to the blog in your Facebook status update

-- Watch the one-minute book video

Thanks! I really appreciate any help. Word of mouth is the BEST.

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