A well-meaning but not especially insightful guide to deriving greater satisfaction in life by feeling “more at home, at home.”
In this sequel to her bestselling The Happiness Project (2009), Rubin explores some of the elements that influence happiness in domestic contexts. After being inexplicably “hit by an intense wave of homesickness” in the well-ordered world of her New York apartment, she created a plan to examine the concepts she saw as inextricably linked to her own personal satisfaction. “I took my circumstances for granted,” she writes. “[I] wanted to appreciate my life more, and to live up to it better.” Rubin began her learning project in September, just as her children were going back to school. She first took account of her possessions and the relationship she had to them and discovered that her material happiness came from wanting what she had rather than making efforts to have more or less. Rubin reached similarly mundane conclusions about other concepts in the months that followed. Marriage, family and parenthood took work, and time management was as essential as determining how to most meaningfully use it. Taking care of herself and feeling good were important because how she behaved influenced the happiness of those around her, and staying mindful of the present was the key to appreciating just “how fleeting [and] how precious” her seemingly ordinary days actually were. Rubin's aim is clearly to help people enhance their relationship to all things domestic, but the portrait of her privileged, relatively trouble-free home, along with the earnestness with which she speaks of being a “moral essayist” interested in delineating “the practice of everyday life,” make her look out of touch.
Read Samuel Johnson instead.