How do I know what makes me happy?

I know that rightly now I should be feeling in full throes of post-holiday blues; hiding under the quilt refusing to go out into the shivering temperatures, cursing at the impending Monday morning in my diary and browsing Expedia for my next holiday.  But honestly, I love coming back from holidays.  Not only because I love being at home and all the comforts it brings (my own bed, my little bum divot on the sofa…) but because I always feel really recharged with creativity and inspiration after a bout of being away.  There’s something about being at home that clears my head of all the usual routine and minutia and allows ideas and excitement to ruminate.  Two things that also helped this process were things I read; The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, and Simple Things magazine, which I picked up in the airport and devoured in the first few days of being away.  I’m actually going to write about both of these in separate posts but just to give you a quick bit of background, the first is a book about a woman’s year long ‘happiness project’, to explore, and improve her own happiness, and the second is a wonderful magazine about the simple things in life – it describes itself as ‘about slowing down, enjoying what you have, making the most of enjoying the company of friends and family and making simple food for simple gatherings’ – perfect, huh?

As part of Gretchen’s ‘Happiness Project’, she comes up with resolutions to tackle each month, and one of these was ‘Find more fun’.  In doing this she discovers that it can sometimes be really difficult to examine and acknowledge the things you find fun.  I know that personally I find it difficult to shake off influences from others in terms of things that are fun, or even things that I really, really want to find fun, but in truth, don’t.  Gretchen comes up with several Secrets of Adulthood, and one of these is; “What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you — and vice versa.  I wrote about this in a post back in April called ‘Do stuff you like doing‘ where I finally admitted that I don’t really enjoy going out drinking or to big social events that revolve around drinking, like house parties.  I wrote a little list there of things that I enjoy, or find fun, but having read The Happiness Project I wanted to revisit it and make sure I make time for these things.  The magazine I read made me feel even more inspired as it contains so many of the things I love doing, and it warmed my heart remembering them, and realising that Autumn is perfect for a lot of them.  Talking of Autumn, I re-read last year’s post about the things I love about Autumn and that too made me feel excited to be home and ready to enjoy my favourite season.

This afternoon I’ve been writing another list of things I enjoy – it sounds so simple but I wanted to really get to the heart of the things I do that I just get lost in or feel really rejuvenated and excited by doing.  I’ve made sure to challenge myself and drop off anything that’s aspirational (things I’d like to love but really don’t!).

My list is going to be really important for my own Happiness Project and it feels like such a good thing to do to be honest with yourself about the things you enjoy.  Have you made a similar list?  Do you find it challenging to acknowledge what it is you really enjoy doing?