Read Along: Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar

First, let me reintroduce myself:

My name is Erica. Although I just came back from a year (or ten months) in Germany, I am leaving in another month for college. I will once again leave my lovely and comfortable home in California, but this time, I will fly to the opposite side of the North American continent. My destination: Baltimore. 

I am a incoming freshman at Johns Hopkins University, or JHU. Right now, my career path is pretty hazy and unknown, but I am heading down the public health road. 

So, I received a package a week ago from my university. It was medium sized, and in the package was the book: Happier: Learn the Secrets of Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment by Tal Ben-Shahar. In complete honesty, I have yet to get past the first chapter; however, I am eager to start this book!

I was planning on listing this book as a part of my series of Challenges; however, this will probably take longer than a week, and I don’t plan on overlapping these challenges. 

One important question to ask is: Why read this book?

First, it is mandatory for the incoming freshmen in JHU. Second, I think that reading this book will definitely give me more insights on living a happier and more fulfilled life. Coming out of high school and traveling for a year made me realize that happiness is so limited in my life. I want to be filled with happiness. 

In 2013, I graduated from high school. I got into a good university and had a full scholarship to participate in the CBYX program the next year. It seemed as though my entire life was at its peak of excitement and adventure, except it wasn’t. I graduated. I felt almost a muted sense of happiness. I was, more or less, indifferent. In the summer after graduation, I was preparing for my trip to Germany. It has always been my goal to travel to Europe; however, I didn’t feel anything, not even an ounce of excitement. What I noticed was that everything I thought would bring my excitement, happiness, and pleasure, didn’t bring any of those feelings. Everything felt muted, emotionless. I am not saying that Germany was a completely dull experience for me, but I was surprised by my own lack of emotions towards what I expected would bring about my happiness. 

Had I done something wrong? Was I traveling the wrong way? Was I experiencing these new experiences the wrong way? How can I bring more happiness into my life? I hope this book can help me answer these questions. 

 – Erica

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