Can I be happy for 100 days in a row? That’s the question my friend Carol asked in a Facebook group where we’re both members. It’s also the opening line on the project’s website, 100 Happy Days Project. It came at a time when I was really struggling and I latched onto it for a few reasons.
1. I believe that what we focus on will impact how we feel. I wanted to feel better. That meant focusing on better things, with intention, on purpose. Projects like this are perfect for that.
2. The emphasis wasn’t on perfection. These do not have to be fantastic photos and they don’t have to be shared publicly. It’s not designed to present a flawless image of a fake life or to be too time consuming. Quick snaps of something that made us happy, shared whatever way we please.
3. Carol was going to do it too. Having a friend for a little accountability always helps! I definitely needed to do something fun with friends that couldn’t take much time.
4. It was 365 days. I’ve done that project a few times, quitting around the hundred and a half mark every time.
and 5. is the biggie: I wanted to SEE MYSELF BEING HAPPY. 100 times. While doing my normal things.
So I’ve tweaked this project a little bit. I don’t just snap things that make me happy. I set up my SLR and use the timer to capture an impression of a moment. Editing the lighting and filter is my brief nod to creativity every day, because I need that and don’t have a lot of time or outlet for it currently. I email it to my phone, save it, upload to Instagram and forward share to Facebook.
My plan is to print out a book of them at the end.
I’m writing this on Day 40 and my life has already changed through participation in this project. How? (A working list)
1. I wake up every day and say, “I wonder what will be my happy moment today?”
2. I’ve discovered flavors of happiness. They aren’t all big smiles. There is also contentment, accomplishment, satisfaction, meditation, determination…..
3. I have a visual record of changes. For example, on Day 1 I didn’t think I could handle the idea of a job change. By day 36 I had turned in notice and today, Day 40, began my first day on my new job, a job that is in much greater alignment with my creative, expressive side (and the one that needs to work from home).
Interested? Join the project yourself; you can start at any time. Use the hashtag and follow a community of others who are deliberately highlighting the happiness in their ordinary lives. Want to see mine? Here’s where they are on Instagram.
Post Script: I felt the need for some closure and reflection at the end of the project. Those thoughts are summed up in my 2015 Year in Review.