Little Victories by Jason Gay
My husband came home a few weeks ago from one of those High School Musical "We're All in this Together" corporate meetings where everyone is supposed to get all excited about the future of the company and blah blah blahbity blah. If you've ever worked in Corporate America, you're rolling your eyes as you read this sentence (and possibly drinking some water to try to get memories of the taste of burned coffee with powdered creamer out of your mouth). Jay and his coworkers had all been handed this book as something that really inspired the D̶u̶n̶g̶e̶o̶n̶ ̶M̶a̶s̶t̶e̶r̶ boss. As is the case with most "literature" you get from these things, I figured it was some Who Moved My Cheese crap. And then I started to see this book pop up all over the Bookeverse. And realized that maybe I had literally judged a book by its cover.
So instead of reading one of the 60+ books I have sitting in my TBR pile(s), I picked up this.
The best part of this book is how it was inspiring without being preachy. It's rare that a self-help book is actually laugh-out-loud funny... but this was. A single page didn't go by without me gigglesnorting about the picture Jason Gay was painting. And while the death of his father was the current that ran under this book, the message was uplifting and easy to follow.
Just last night, I was having a discussion with my husband where he told me that he figured I was generally satisfied with the direction of my life because I always seem happy. And as this book speaks to, I told him that is because I allow myself to celebrate the small, every day things and revel in that joy. And on most days, those little victories are what get you through. When my 2 year old is playing with her tablet, stops for a minute, looks at me with those blue eyes of her and says "I love you SOOOO much, Mommy" (usually I suspect she's looking for more chocolate milk, but I'll take it). When my husband and I are laughing about something so ridiculous that you realize after over 17 years, we still crack each other up. When my boss who is normally a giant PITA and near impossible to please sends an email out to my teammates to brag about the way I handled a client. When I crack open a new book I'm so excited to read. I may not like what I do for a living. I may spend every day racking my brain to figure out how in the hell I'll manage to fool someone into paying me to do something (anything) with books. But when Lorelai thanks me for reading her her favorite bedtime story... for a few seconds... my life is glorious.
"The Wall Street Journal"'s popular columnist Jason Gay delivers a hilarious and heartfelt guide to modern living.
The book you hold in your hand is a rule book. There have been rule books before stacks upon stacks of them but this book is unlike any other rule book you have ever read. It will not make you rich in twenty-four hours, or even seventy-two hours. It will not cause you to lose eighty pounds in a week. This book has no abdominal exercises. I have been doing abdominal exercises for most of my adult life, and my abdomen looks like it's always looked. It looks like flan. Syrupy flan. So we can just limit those expectations. This book does not offer a crash diet or a plan for maximizing your best self. I don t know a thing about your best self. It may be embarrassing. Your best self might be sprinkling peanut M&M's onto rest-stop pizza as we speak. I cannot promise that this book is a road map to success. And we should probably set aside the goal of total happiness. There's no such thing.
I would, however, like for it to make you laugh. Maybe think. I believe it is possible to find, at any age, a new appreciation for what you have and what you don t have as well as for the people closest to you. There's a way to experience life that does not involve a phone, a tablet, a television screen. There's also a way to experience life that does not involve eating seafood at the airport, because you should really never eat seafood at the airport. Like the title says, I want us all to achieve little victories. I believe that happiness is derived less from a significant single accomplishment than it is from a series of successful daily maneuvers. Maybe it's the way you feel when you walk out the door after drinking six cups of coffee, or surviving a family vacation, or playing the rowdy family Thanksgiving touch football game, or just learning to embrace that music at the gym. Accomplishments do not have to be large to be meaningful. I think little victories are the most important ones in life.