Sibling Assignment #126: "Being inlandempiregirl"

In the book The Happiness Project one of Gretchen Rubin's twelve commandments is to "Be Gretchen". Her goal was to identify what she really liked to do and spend time doing it. Have you ever spent time doing an activity because you thought you should, your friends wanted you to, or it seemed like the thing to do at the time ? Sibling Assignment #126 is "When you are "Being Raymond Pert" or " Being Silver Valley Girl" what are those things you encompass to create happiness in your life? Are there things you have let go of because they weren't you?" I will link their posts as they complete them. 

I have spent too many hours in my life doing things because others were doing it, I thought I should, or I thought I would like it, but then didn't quit when I didn't. Because of others I have gone to gun shows, watched dog racing, gone to a swap meet involving old car parts, gone to movies I wouldn't have paid the money to see, rode on a motorcycle, played a mean prank, and been involved in dangerous stunts. Others made it seem like a good idea to spend way too much money for terrible food at a trendy restaurant, to go shopping and buy things we didn't need, get married too soon, to buy a house before being financially ready, or stop eating the chocolate covered cherries before feeling sick. I thought I should read more classic literature, prepare fancy gourmet dishes, shop at Nordstroms, buy something for the brand name, go on an exotic vacation, have a new car, buy organic, or go on girls' week-ends. I thought I should quilt, drink microbrews, use a tanning booth, and like tofu.

 I didn't quit reading the book that I really didn't like, walk out of the movie that was too weird or violent, leave a conversation when people were gossiping about somebody I knew, leave the table when racist jokes were being told, walk off the golf course when it was the most miserable game ever, or stay home when I needed to rest.

 Slowly in the last fifteen years I have worked at "being inlandempiregirl." When I relocated to the house I live in now I focused on what I wanted to surround myself with that would bring happiness. I planted gardens, cut fresh flowers for bouquets, learned to grow lavender, married my husband, acquired dogs, cats, and rabbits, and slowed down my life. I worked at creating living spaces outside where we could view the lake, sit by the fire, feed the birds, or enjoy the greenhouse when it was time to take a break. I learned to propagate plants, raise roses, grow plants from seeds, and get a hydrangea to bloom.

Writing is a passion in my life so I carve out time to write this blog, poetry, memoir pieces most every day and also read books that inspire me to improve my writing. I also love reading books about the craft of writing, take time to attend writing retreats, hear writers speak, or read about other writers' experiences.

Photography is another passion so I purposefully examine my world through the lens of my camera. I read how to improve my pictures, I take hundreds of pictures a week, I share my pictures through my blog, Facebook, and gifts. This is time well-spent and helps me to "be inlandempiregirl."

I love to cook but strive to prepare simple, homey meals that don't require ingredients I don't keep on hand. I also find joy in preserving food JEJ raises in the garden and love opening pickles, beets, or salsa in the winter and remembering  the flavors of summer.

When I travel I love to find retreats. Camping at Canyon Creek where the only noise heard is the creek, finding a cabin in the woods surrounded by trees, driving to the ocean to sit by the beach and enjoy a beautiful sunset, taking a road trip around the area with a picnic lunch, two dogs, a camera, and my husband. I still want to find the beauty in my own back yard before I explore other parts of the world.

I still want to write a book, not feel guilty about sitting around in my pajamas all day, perfect the Lemon Drop, keep connected with family and friends, form a writing group, learn to knit, spend more time in bookstores, take long Sunday naps, continue to enjoy a cheap, simple lager, figure out how to grow an African violet that blooms, find the best hamburger in the Inland Empire, enjoy all four seasons, make a perfect pie crust, meet some of my blog friends, and get healthier.

I want to work at being inlandempiregirl.


  1. Laurie29.3.10

    Such a great post. I've done some of the same things, while wishing I wasn't doing them, as well as some others. As I approach the next milestone age, one thing I am consciously trying to do is become more Laurie. I know I've made progress, but I've got a ways to go. Thanks for articulating this idea so beautifully here. I may get around to blogging about it myself one of these days.

  2. Good for you. You might find The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin a good read.


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