Because the work I do for money appears to be a true, true reflection of who I am inside, I tend to gravitate towards positions in which I am the Champion of Rules. Whether this was the ESL Teacher Me of 20 or so years ago teaching grammar or the Controller Me of the present, it is really always about rules.
I like rules.
I spend a lot of time thinking about rules, about order, about grouping like things, whether it's Halloween candy or amphibians seen on a walk through the woods. I love yoga because there are rules, principles of alignment that make it all flow blissfully. I love science for the same reason, for the tools it offers to understand how the world works, a little crack into the mystery of it all.
So I particularly enjoyed the part of Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project (coming out in paperback next week) in which she explores "True Rules," her own idiosyncratic collection of principles for making decisions and setting priorities. True Rules are the unspoken rules that govern our individual behavior, our Code so to speak. Some of Gretchen's:
Get some exercise every day.
Get some work done every day.
My parents are almost always right.
Never eat hors d'oeuvres, and never eat anything at a children's party.
Some of my favorite examples from her blog readers include:
Always say hello.
Don't get up in the 5:00s or go to sleep in the 8:00s.
Things have a way of turning out for the best.
As we were driving home from Tahoe last weekend, I made a game (another example of rule-love) with Joe of trying to come up with our own True Rules. Here are some of mine, scribbled in my notebook as I sat curled in the passenger seat. Each one, of course, has a story, but that's for another time.
Never drink coffee before 4 am.
Always say Thank You.
In certain situations you can choose to be bigger or smaller. Choose bigger no matter how hard it is.
Be invited back.
Fix the small stuff.
Taste what is offered.
Give people the opportunity to tell you their story.
& of course, a favorite from Anusara: When in doubt, stick it out.
And because one of Joe's True Rules is "on a road trip, always have a meal," we then promptly stopped for lunch.
I know my rule-iness has the potential to make me intolerant, boorish, bossy and rude, but if I keep it in check -- follow my own True Rules, that is -- then really, it makes me so happy. Everything's in order and I can see long vistas of possibility. Then everything's open and fun.
And really that's probably my Truest Rule of all: Be happy, have fun.