I Hate Party Planning

I hate party planning. In case you identify with this statement, read on …..

Yes, it’s true, I hate party planning. I like the serious stuff.

But once again, I have to pull wisdom from The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.


When she compared the five stages of Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief with what she discovered as stages in the happiness process, I perked up. (p108)

This reminded me of my A-ha moment years ago when I realized that I would rather work an extra shift in a hectic ICU (with a dying patient) than clean my house! So that’s what I did. That was the beginning of having a housecleaner in my life.


I like meaningful experiences!

This is how Rubin discovered the meaning in party planning.

The Five Stages of Grief:

Denial — Anger — Bargaining — Depression — Acceptance

The Four Stages of Happiness:

Anticipate it — Savor it — Express it — Recall it


Ruben researched this and then realized it in her own life…

to create activities around these four stages

was the best way to eke out as much happiness as possible

from every happy event.

What’s serendipitous about this information for me was that I was flying to San Francisco to share our oldest daughter’s 34th birthday when I read this. I was flooded with all those memories of me trying to create memorable experiences for our girls’ birthdays as they were growing up.

When I got there, I witnessed my daughter create her own happiness and memory making in preparing for her birthday events. She assured me that I had done a pretty good job in my party planning days. Relief.


Now I see the wisdom of eking out every drop of happiness in every event.

What I can do differently:

Anticipate it –

Make planning a part of the joy. Draw this part of the process out. Stop making it just part of a checklist. These steps are the very fun of it! Make planning part of the joy.

Savor it –

Be aware of the joy that I feel while planning and acting. Remember that ‘eating the cake’ will only take minutes, but the creation of that cake can have hours of enjoyment. And of course, savor the joy of others.


Express it and Recall it –

Tell everybody about each step with glee …

Listen with glee to everyone else’s account of each step …

Love and use all the happy aspects of social media.

Continue to love all the pictures on our walls (our real walls in our home).

My A-ha –

Events themselves typically take up the least of the time.

 It’s the planning, anticipating, savoring, expressing and recalling them that can expand my joy and happiness.

Rubin G. The Happiness Project, Updated. New York: Harper; 2015.

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