Personal

Puzzling it out

I am reading “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin.

It chronicles a year in Gretchen’s life where she tried to create and follow her “Happiness Project”. It previously seemed logical to me that you cannot achieve happiness solely by seeking it – I thought that happiness comes from pursuing other things, such as being content with what I have in this moment, being happy in my work, etc etc. I still think this is true (and in her happiness project Gretchen thinks about and tries to do these things), but I also think that it is true that to be happy we need to spend some time actually thinking about what makes us happy and then incorporating that into our lives.

This led me to think about what I liked to do as a 10 year old girl. To be honest, I don’t think there was much I particularly liked to do – my most distinct memories include:

1. We had these puzzles that I loved to play with. But I equally liked to play with the actual box – that is, I used to open the box, chuck the puzzle pieces out and then use the bottom part as the keyboard of a laptop and the top cover turned vertical to make it into a laptop screen. I would then sit on the floor of our bedroom (we, all four of us in the family, had one bedroom) pretending that I am at the busy office typing away.

2. I also loved to put puzzles together, especially difficult ones. I particularly remember a dolphin puzzle that we had (I think it was only something like 100 pieces) that I made and re-made dozens of time. Another one we had showed 2 penguins, which I also made and remade continuously. Another time, when we went to Fiji to visit relatives I spent an afternoon with Jessica (the daughter of my cousin), who was then maybe 10 or so (I must have been 13 or thereabout) putting together a puzzle of a zoo, and I was so upset when we couldn’t find one piece.

Another time, I bought a huge puzzle from the Warehouse (it was a picture of a cafe somewhere in Europe I think) and spent weeks putting it together. I then found a piece of cardboard that my parents were throwing away and stuck all the pieces onto it with glue, with Sharlene’s help. She must have been 5 or so.

We still have that puzzle on the wall of our house in Melbourne today.

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