This week's super-fun thing: The awesome Gretchen Rubin was here in Boston doing an event for her book, and I got to hang out with her over coffee & sandwiches. My own little happiness project, right in the pub of a fine Boston hotel :)
Now Gretchen and I have exchanged enough emails over the past few months about each others' memoirs and blog posts that it almost felt weird that we were just now meeting in person. One of my favorite things in life is to meet a fellow author and discover that they really live what they write...when their "platform" is who they actually are in real life. Spending time talking with Gretchen about love, happiness, writing, reading, promotion, etc., showed that she's the real deal. So I did an extra happy dance when her event that night was PACKED, and the long line of folks waiting to have her sign their books gave hope to the idea that the book-buying world is alive and well. It's fun to see friends succeed. My one regret is that I failed to take a picture.
It made me think a bit, though, about the risk in meeting people we admire. Because there have been those rare occasions where I've had it go the other way: where I looked forward to chatting with an author whose work I enjoyed (or hearing what s/he had to say in a workshop) only to discover that s/he was a narcissist, or delusional, or just sort of mean. I try to give folks some slack in these moments--we all have days we would prefer not to be remembered by. But to be honest, these times happen so rarely (most authors really are amazingly cool people) that I haven't had much of a strategy to deal with it. It's like it sends me into the five stages of mourning: I'm shocked, and then go into denial and think "Maybe I heard wrong...", then I find myself, a week or so later, throwing his/her books away because now they just bum me out.
BUT here's my BIG HAPPINESS REALIZATION for this week: part of happiness maintenance is having a strategy to deal with disappointment when people let us down. So I'm working on one. I think meeting Gretchen helped me, strangely enough: Now I can genuinely say I'm a fan of both her and her book. I'll keep it handy (along with books by other cool author peeps) and reach for it quickly when I need to be reminded that the good guys outnumber the bad guys by a significant margin. Part of happiness, I see now, is making smart choices about what we dwell on.
Fun Question for You: Have you met an author/actor/politician/otherwise public person and had him or her exceed your expectations? Share!